Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Are we counting Chads in Aiken?
From the Aiken Standard: Senate race too close to call
By HALEY HUGHES Staff writer
It appears the fat lady has not yet sung for Senate District 25 — one candidate's camp is declaring itself the outright winner and the other camp is not conceding and may request a recount with a 187-vote margin standing between them.
Republican candidate Shane Massey of Edgefield County has 50.7 percent of the votes while Democratic candidate Rep. Bill Clyburn of Aiken County has 49.3 percent. Clyburn carried Aiken and Saluda counties while Massey carried Edgefield and McCormick counties.
Under state law, a candidate must receive 50 percent plus one vote to win an election definitively.
In the entire district, Massey garnered 7,125 votes and Clyburn 6,938 votes.
"Based on the numbers, it appears I have won," Massey said. "We knew from the beginning it was going to be a competitive race and it has been. The numbers demonstrate that people in District 25 want a change."
Conflicting reports surfaced Tuesday night on who would fill the seat vacated by former Sen. Tommy Moore earlier this year. Even the South Carolina Republican Party released a statement congratulating Massey on his win though the results were clouded in uncertainty.
Aiken County Registration and Elections Commission Chairman Stuart Bedenbaugh could not be reached for comment.
Clyburn's camp was not ready to accept either defeat or victory Tuesday.
"We are not going to concede," said Phil Bailey, campaign spokesperson. "The numbers strongly suggest going to an automatic recount."
State law requires automatic recounts when the difference between the number of votes is less than 1 percent. In the absence of an automatic recount, one may be generated if a petition is filed.
Massey stated his calculations clearly showed the margin was more than 1 percent of the total votes cast.
Clyburn said people were divided on whether Massey's margin equaled 50 percent plus one vote.
"(The numbers are) so close we don't know," he said, adding his campaign would take a fresh look at the numbers this morning and decide on how to proceed after gaining input from the Clyburn family. "Our best appears not good enough, but we'll see what the numbers bring."
Massey, 32, is a partner at Nance, McCants & Massey law firm in Aiken and has had no previous political experience. Clyburn, 66, has had 27 years of political experience and is currently serving as state House Representative for District 82.