Rex Rice defeats Martin in runoff, Hendricks, Costner, Bowers take county council races

COUNTY — After a 38-year legislative career, State Sen. Larry Martin was unseated during Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff.

In an unexpected relatively high turnout, 18 percent of the county’s 61,904 voters cast ballots.

In the District 2 State Senate race, former House Rep. Rex Rice managed to knock off Martin, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, taking more than 54 percent of the vote. Rice finished with 6,010 votes, nearly 1,000 ahead of Martin’s 5,076.

In addition to the Senate race, three seats were up for grabs on Pickens County Council, as none of the Republican primary candidates will face opposition in November.

In the District 3 race, Wes Hendricks bested current Pickens County School Board member Alex Saitta by 177 votes. Hendricks earned his seat on county council with 1,861 votes compared to Saitta’s 1,684.

The District 4 race saw Roy Costner finish first with 1,325 votes to unseat incumbent Neil Smith, who managed 680 votes.

There will also be a new county council member representing District 5, as incumbent Jennifer Willis did not seek re-election. Chris Bowers garnered 1,342 votes Tuesday, defeating Jeff Willis, who tallied 864 votes.

The results listed are unofficial until they are certified and provisional/fail safe and emergency ballots are added on Thursday.