COLUMBIA — Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer held a comfortable lead over his Democratic opponent with most of the state's counties reporting in a mandatory recount Thursday.
And a Democrat Jim Rex's lead in the state education superintendent's race widened slightly after Horry County found problems with their initial tally from Election Day.
With two thirds of the state's 46 counties reporting unofficial recount results, it appeared that Republican Bauer would end up winning the recount over Democrat challenger Robert Barber and that Rex maintained a slim lead over Republican Karen Floyd for education superintendent.
The state Election Commission certified the Nov. 7 results Wednesday. Those two statewide races and contests for state House districts 29 and 115 were within a 1 percent margin that triggers automatic recounts.
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The recount numbers will be certified Friday, opening a five-day window to election protests by candidates.
State Election Commission Chairman Butch Bowers said he expected no big differences in the vote counts, particularly those cast on the state's new electronic machines. But there were differences in vote totals when absentee and challenged ballots were recounted.
For instance, Dillon County added a couple of dozen votes to the tally for statewide races. Elections director Susie Edwards said some absentee ballots had ended up on the wrong site of a vote-counting machine on election night. Some had "failed to pull them back out and reread them," Edwards said. "We reread them twice this morning," she said.
The largest difference came in Horry County, where more than 500 votes were taken out of the education superintendent and lieutenant governor races.
"An error occurred in the reporting of our absentee ballots" on Nov. 7, Horry County elections director Sandy Martin said. Martin wasn't sure what had happened, but "these totals we have today are accurate."
That removed 217 votes from Democratic state education superintendent candidate Jim Rex original tally and 290 from Republican Karen Floyd's count.
The change slightly widened the lead Rex carried into Thursday's recount.
In House District 29, which covers parts of Cherokee, Chester and York counties, Democrat Dennis Moss appeared to have beaten Republican Danny Stacy by about 60 votes.
W.B. Cook, a member of the Cherokee County Election Commission, said his county's results were unchanged, leaving Moss the winner there. Earlier reports from Chester and York counties had little change in the outcome either.
"It feels great," Moss said. "We were confident the results would hold up from election night."
Stacy said he would wait until the recount is certified Friday before talking about a possible challenge.
In House District 115, Rep. Wallace Scarborough, a Charleston Republican seeking a fourth term, led Democrat Eugene Platt by 40 votes.
"I'd rather be where I am than where Mr. Platt is," Scarborough said.