While Republicans were afraid that Democrats had flipped Columbia-based House District 75 last night, it appears that GOP nominee Kirkman Finlay won the seat after all.
When all absentee ballots were counted, Finlay went from 46 votes behind to 265 votes in the lead, taking the seat with 6,771 votes to 6,506 for Democrat Joe McCulloch.
Democrats intend to contest the seat and McCulloch has yet concede defeat, but most recounts don't swing these races more than several dozen votes. Thus we expect Finlay will hold the seat which was vacated when House Judiciary Chair Jim Harrison decided not to seek re-election after holding the seat since 1991.
Finlay owns the well-known Doc's BBQ, a favorite stop for USC game tailgaters and a favorite lunch spot of the Blogland and friends. If you haven't been there, you really need to.
After securing District 75, Republicans have scored a net gain of two House seats by picking up Democratic-held District 11, as well as two Democratic seats which were redistricted to the coast: District 56, now in Horry County, and District 120, now in Beaufort County. They lost House District 78, also based in Richland County. They now how 78 of 124 seats in the state House.