In the 2000 and 2002 elections, a major push by the South Carolina GOP to increase absentee and early voting turnout paid off big dividends. Not surprisingly, a return to focusing upon that nuts-and-bolts aspect of winning elections paid off heavily this year.
In the gubernatorial race, Haley beat out Sen. Vince Sheheen by taking 51 percent of the 142,552 absentee ballots cast in the election. The work paid off in strong GOP counties like Lexington, where Haley took a nearly two-thirds advantage. The results were a little better in the lieutenant governor contest, where Florence County councilman Ken Ard was able to claim a little more than 54 percent.
U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson pulled 57.7 percent of the total, and won each of the three most populous counties, including Richland ... Sen. Mick Mulvaney’s challenge to upset U.S. Rep. John Spratt was a little closer, considering that Spratt had experience on his side. Still, Mulvaney netted 52 percent overall and won four of the five biggest counties, including claiming almost two-thirds of the absentee vote in York.