South Charlotte

York County's incumbents finish at top of primary races

York County Council incumbents Buddy Motz and Curwood Chappell defeated Republican primary challengers Tuesday, paving the way for their return to the board.

Neither faces an opponent in November, so they're expected to return to the council.

Incumbents Tom Smith, a Republican, and Roy Blake, a Democrat, will have runoffs June 24.

All results are final but unofficial until certified on Thursday.

The primary comes four and a half months after the S.C. presidential primary.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham fended off Republican challenge Buddy Witherspoon, a retired orthodontist and former Republican National Committee member, by a 67-33 percent margin with 89 percent of the precincts reporting.

Witherspoon criticized Graham as being too liberal for South Carolina and “joined at the hip” with John McCain, the presumptive GOP presidential candidate.

Graham will face either Democrat Michael Cone of Mount Pleasant or North Myrtle Beach engineer Bob Conley. The race was nearly evenly split and headed toward a recount.

York County Council results:

District 1 – Incumbent Paul Lindemann defeated challenger Jeff Updike 1,095 to 853 in the Republican primary. Lindemann had unseated Updike two years ago. Lindemann will face Democrat Marion Davenport and Green Party candidate Bryan Smith in November.

District 2 – First-term incumbent Smith will face challenger David McCorkle in a runoff after winning 532 to 359. Bill Stiles had 193 votes. The runoff winner will face no opposition in November.

District 3 – First-term Republican incumbent Joe Cox defeated challenger Kenny Ruffin 533 to 419. Cox will face York Mayor Eddie Lee, a Democrat, in November.

District 4 – Roy Blake, the council's sole Democrat, will face William Bump Roddey in a runoff after winning 746 to 551. Gwendolyn Connor had 277 votes. The runoff winner will face Republican Tom Hardin in November.

District 5 – Eight-term incumbent Chappell beat challenger Ashley Martin by more than a 2-1 margin, 960 to 477. Chappell is the senior Republican on the council.

District 6 – Council chair and five-term incumbent Motz narrowly defeated Alex Haefele 1,225 to 1,183.

District 7 – Fourth-term Republican incumbent Rick Lee will face Democrat Chad Williams. There was no primary.

The Associated Press contributed.