Elections

Voters head to polls to decide between Bostic, Sanford in GOP runoff

Poll managers Donald Starkey and April Smalls check registration for voter Nolan Tarrance Tuesday morning at Beaufort Middle School for today's runoff to determine the Republican nominee in the 1st Congressional District.
Poll managers Donald Starkey and April Smalls check registration for voter Nolan Tarrance Tuesday morning at Beaufort Middle School for today's runoff to determine the Republican nominee in the 1st Congressional District. Sarah Welliver

Both former Gov. Mark Sanford and former Charleston County Councilman Curtis Bostic are getting supporters out to the polls in today's Republican runoff for the 1st Congressional District.

Voter Jean Houston of Sun City sad she cast a ballot for Sanford based on his history of looking out for taxpayers.

"His fiscal policies are what I want," Houston said. "The government is enabling too many people and the more you enable them, they more they want. The government can't help everyone out."

Houston said she's setting aside Sanford's extramarital affair that ended his marriage to then-first lady Jenny Sanford.

"I'm blocking that out because everyone makes mistakes," she said.

But voter Lorraine Fetzner of Sun City sees the affair as a defining characteristic that makes Sanford unfit for another chance. She said she voted for Bostic.

"A man who runs off with another woman is not OK in my book," she said, adding Sanford already had his chance in Washington and it's time for someone new. Sanford represented the 1st Congressional District from 1995 to 2001.

While Fetzner said she does not know that much about Bostic, she hasn't heard anything offensive about him.

Voting in Beaufort County appears to be smooth and light, said Scott Marshall, head of the county's board of elections and registration.

Marshall anticipates 12 to 15 percent of the county's voters will turn out today to vote for either Sanford or Bostic.

No problems have been reported thus far related to the state's new requirement that voters being a picture ID to the polls, Marshall said.

Similar slow and smooth turnout is being reported in the four other counties that comprise the 1st District, said Chris Whitmire, spokesman for the SC State Election Commission. Polls are open until 7 p.m.

There is no Democratic runoff for the seat. The winner of today's runoff faces Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch in a special election May.

Check back with The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette for results later today, and follow reporter Gina Smith at twitter.com/GinaNSmith.

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