ATLANTA -- South Carolina's gubernatorial runoffs produced a victor on the Republican side and the possibility of a recount on the Democratic side.
State elections director James F. Hendrix said yesterday in an interview that unofficial tallies showed Republican David Beasley well ahead of Arthur Ravenel Jr. Both are former state lawmakers.
The race between Lieut. Gov. Nick Theodore and Charleston Mayor Joe Riley was too close to call, with Theodore's tally at 113,050 and Riley's at 111,395. Hendrix said that because the difference was within a one percentage point overall margin, there would probably be a recount.
The decision would be made on Saturday, and a recount, if one occurs, would not be until next Tuesday, Hendrix said.
The general election will be held Nov. 8. Each candidate seeks to succeed outgoing Gov. Caroll Campbell, a Republican, who is prohibited by the state's Constitution from serving a third term.
The Democratic primary focused on crime and education issues, with both candidates favoring a change in sentencing laws to require life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for three-time felons. Theodore also favored a statewide lottery and increased financial assistance for college students, while opposing casino gambling. Riley favored higher teachers pay, a statewide lottery, and casino gambling.
The Republican primary focused on taxes and crime. Beasley, who won with 133,981 votes to 98,600, said he would veto any general tax increase not approved in a voter referendum. He also said he would seek a requirement that fee increases be approved by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly.
On crime, the Republican said he supported a "three strikes" rule, which mandates a life sentence after three felony convictions.
Beasley is opposed to both a statewide lottery and casino gambling.
Before becoming lieutenant governor in 1986, Theodore was a state legislator, where he served in South Carolina's House of Representatives from 1963 through 1966, and from 1969 through 1978. He served in the state Senate in 1967 and 1968 and 1981 through 1986. An insurance agent, Theodore is 65.
Beasley, 37, a banker and attorney, served in the state's House as a Democrat between 1979 and 1992. He switched to the Republican party in 1991.
In other runoff elections, Charlie Condon beat David Eckstrom to become the Republican candidate for attorney general. Condon, 41, served as solicitor of South Carolina's Ninth Circuit Court, from 1981 to 1992. Condon had 129,892 votes to 92,424.