Senate Special Election Results


via the Greenville News

Dwight Loftis ultimately beat Tina Belge in the special election for the District 6 Senate seat.

Sydney Dunlap, Staff Reporter

On March 26, South Carolina held a special election for a seat in the South Carolina Senate. Democrat Tina Belge and Republican Dwight Loftis went head-to-head and Loftis came out on top. As reported in the Greenville News, Loftis received fifty-six percent of votes while Belge received forty-four percent. Loftis will now be taking William Timmons place since Timmons was voted into Congress last year. Loftis beat out other Republican candidates including Amy Ryberg Doyle, and Jeffrey Stringer, to get a chance to run against Belge. Belge was supported by multiple Democratic presidential candidates such as Senator Cory Booker and Senator Elizabeth Warren. Both special election candidates have expressed that they are proud of their campaigns and will continue to be involved in South Carolina politics in the future, either as a part of the state government or in the community.

The two candidates were significantly different in their position and tactics throughout their campaigns. The most obvious difference is their age, as Loftis is seventy-five and Belge is twenty-eight. This leaves a forty-seven year age difference between the two candidates. Loftis is a father of three and has three grandchildren as well, while Belge has a seven-month-old daughter. This difference in age and experience left South Carolina voters with a big choice to make between the two candidates. Belge supported, as Greenville News stated, “legalizing medical marijuana, promoting affordable housing and taking steps to curb domestic violence in South Carolina.” Meanwhile, Loftis had a strong position against abortion and expressed that he is pro-business, pro-growth, and he is focused on economic development. While Belge raised more money for her campaign than Loftis, her opponent’s party has held the Senate seat for over two decades, making it a hard race to run.

Loftis is making this move to the Senate after twenty-three years in the House of Representatives. An election will be held later in the year in order to fill his position representing District 19 in the House. Belge stated that “We’re going to continue to fight in South Carolina,” but has not yet expressed any interest in running for another position. Senior Rachel Schultz expressed her opinions on the election stating, “Belge’s support and turnout was exciting. She ended up receiving a lot more votes than I thought, which is a sign that generally our district is turning more blue. There was a lot more youth engagement than expected. A lot of 18-year-olds voted for the first time in a special election which is unheard of. . . There will be another special election in our district to fill his original seat, and if that election is anything like this past one the Republican party might not be assuming that the seat will automatically go red.” Another special election for Loftis’ position in the House of Representatives will be held in the near future.