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South Carolina’s Haley and Scott Win Historic Nods; Inglis Loses Renomination

It’s a historic night for South Carolina Republicans — they nominated candidates who broke significant gender and racial hurdles, while a third incumbent member of the U.S. House of Representatives lost renomination.

The Associated Press declared state Rep. Nikki Haley the winner in her primary runoff against U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett, making her the state GOP’s first female gubernatorial candidate. Haley defeated Barrett 65-35 percent. She will face state Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D) in the general election.

Haley had placed first in the June 8 primary, but was unable to avoid a runoff. Prior to the primary, she had faced a bruising month. A blogger accused her of having an extramarital affair — later endorsing her — and a prominent supporter of one of her primary opponents, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, used an ethnic slur against her. Haley was born to Indian immigrants. Barrett decided to avoid resurrecting the nasty primary campaign by focusing on policy issues.

Incumbent Rep. Bob Inglis (R) lost his bid for renomination against Spartanburg and Cherokee County prosecutor Trey Gowdy. The result was not even close — Gowdy defeated Inglis 71-29 percent. This means Inglis picked up almost no support since the primary, when he got 28 percent. Though Inglis has usually been a fairly conservative vote, he occasionally defied the party — most notably by voting in favor of the Troubled Asset Relief Program. It was this vote that seems to have doomed him for re-nomination. He is the third House member to lose renomination, after Alan Mollohan (D-W. Va.) and Parker Griffith (R-Ala.).

Meanwhile, the party also nominated a candidate who may become the state’s first black GOP congressman in more than 100 years. State Rep. Tim Scott defeated Charleston County Councilman Paul Thurmond 68-32 percent for the party’s nod in the seat being left vacant by retiring Rep. Henry Brown (R). Thurmond is the son of late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), who ran for president in 1948 on the segregationist Dixiecrat ticket. If Scott wins the general election, he will be the first black Republican to represent the state since the late 1800s.

Updated at 11:10 p.m.

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