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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The first woman to graduate from The Citadel has won a Republican runoff for a South Carolina House seat vacated amid a Statehouse corruption probe.

Daniel Island businesswoman Nancy Mace won nearly 63 percent of the votes cast Tuesday, according to unofficial results from the South Carolina Election Commission, beating former Mount Pleasant Town Councilman Mark Smith. She faces Democrat Cindy Boatwright in the general election.

The District 99 seat, which covers parts of Charleston and Berkeley counties, became vacant earlier this year when Jim Merrill resigned shortly before pleading guilty to misdemeanor misconduct in office. Merrill was the second House leader convicted in the investigation that began with the 2014 prosecution of longtime state House speaker Bobby Harrell, who pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor campaign-spending violations.

A handful of other current and former lawmakers have been indicted, as well as veteran Republican strategist Richard Quinn.

Mace nearly won the nomination outright in a four-way primary two weeks ago, getting 49 percent of the vote, just shy of the majority she needed.

In a statement provided to The Associated Press, Mace said she was honored by the win and would continue to bring her message of “being a fiscal conservative, recognizing that tax dollars are sacred” to voters ahead of the Jan. 16 general election. On her campaign website, Mace said more business-minded people are needed in the Statehouse to address issues including education and infrastructure.

Mace graduated from The Citadel in 1999 and was a field director for Donald Trump’s campaign, working in seven states during the 2016 primaries, according to her website. She previously owned a public relations firm and counted then-U.S. Reps. Tim Scott and Mick Mulvaney, as well as state Sen. Tom Davis, among her clients.


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