A former Columbia city councilwoman appeared to win the Democratic nomination for a state Senate seat in a special election Tuesday, likely bringing a sixth woman into a chamber that had none just over a decade ago.
Tameika Isaac Devine received about 52% of the vote in unofficial returns in the four-person race. The majority was enough to avoid a runoff with her main challenger state Rep. Kambrell Garvin, who received just over 45%. The results will be certified later this week.
Isaac Devine will face three challengers in the Jan. 2 special election: Republican Kizzie Smalls, Michael Addison of the Independence Party and Chris Nelums of the United Citizens Party.
The seat came open after the August death of Democratic Sen. John Scott, who was first elected in 2008.
The district in Richland County north of Columbia includes heavily populated areas along Interstates 26 and 77 and the rural area in between. It has voted heavily Democratic, and about two-thirds of the registered voters are African American.
Isaac Devine, 50, was the first Black woman elected to the Columbia City Council in 2002, but suffered a political setback in 2021 when she was defeated in a run for mayor.
If she wins the Jan. 2 special election, Isaac Devine will be the sixth woman in the 46-member Senate. As recently as 2012, the South Carolina Senate had no women.
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