After three years in retirement, former S.C. Senator Greg Gregory will return to the District 16 Senate seat.
Unofficial results from Tuesday’s election showed Gregory taking 69 percent of the vote in York County. In Lancaster County, Gregory captured 80 percent of the votes.
Gregory will be on the job quickly. He has a 10 a.m. meeting scheduled in Columbia with Senator Wes Hayes (R-Rock Hill) on Wednesday morning to discuss redistricting.
He expects to officially take office on Tuesday.
“There’s no rest for the weary,” Gregory said.
Gregory will fill the vacancy left when Mick Mulvaney was elected to the U.S. House last fall. He defeated Democratic candidate Keith Brann and Libertarian candidate Stan Smith, both of Fort Mill.
Smith received 5 percent of the votes while Brann received nearly 18 percent of the votes, according to the unofficial results posted by the South Carolina State Election Commission.
“I am impressed by how soundly I was beaten,” Smith said.
Brann could not immediately be reached for comment.
Gregory also was surprised by the margin of his win.
“It was a little higher than what I had forecast,” Gregory said. “We’re certainly happy. We put together a good game plan for the 100 days we had and it worked out well for us. Nobody has ever gotten more than 43 percent of the vote against my team and I’ve been using the same team for 20 years. Nobody’s going to outwork us. So when you start with name recognition and you have a team that will outwork anyone, you can’t be beat.”
Turnout was light around the district.
At 6:45 p.m., only 96 people had voted at at Unity Presbyterian Church in Fort Mill and 114 had voted at the precinct in Fort Mill Town Hall.
Gregory previously held the S.C. Senate seat for 16 years before retiring in 2008. He returned to run for the District 16 seat after Lancaster pharmacy owner Hugh Mobley dropped out of the race citing health reasons. Gregory had endorsed Mobley.
District 16 includes most of Lancaster County, including Indian Land, parts of Fort Mill as well as Lesslie, in York County.
Gregory took an early financial lead in the 15-week campaign. In Gregory’s most recent financial disclosures to the State Ethics Commission, he reported $32,675 in donations collected.
Smith raised just over $3,000 in donation. Brann supported his own campaign with $6,000 of personal funds.
Smith said he didn't believe finances played a part in Gregory’s win.
“I think it’s history. The old south versus the new south and the old south carries the day. In this community, old ties really matter,” Smith said.
Smith wished Gregory well.
“I wish him the very best as he serves the people of the district,” Smith said.
The election will be certified on Friday, April 15.