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Popular Lexington / Richland incumbent in SC House 71 headed back for another term, if?

Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) Nathan Ballentine, a popular incumbent in SC House District 71, an area that includes some of both Lexington and Richland Counties, easily shoved aside two challengers pulling in an amazing 71% of the vote in Tuesday’s primary polling to win against his opponents. That’s an awesome feat given the fact that it was a three-way race. Ballentine received 225 of the 316 votes cast while Britton Wolf pulled in 70, and Todd Watlington was able to scrape up just 21 votes.

There is one small catch that could just be the political rumor mill cranking up, or it could be a step Ballentine may be seriously considering. The senator that had represented Ballentine’s area, John Courson, recently resigned after pleading guilty to misconduct in office in the RQA scandal that has been sweeping through the statehouse over the last few years. That leaves that seat open and a special election has been set to fill it. Some say that Ballentine is seriously considering a run for that.

It will be interesting to see if Ballentine will try and capitalize on his popularity and make the jump from house to senate. Some say it will be tough to go back to the same people he just asked to support his reelection bid for the house and now, with hat in hand, say he’s abandoning that post to run for senate. With the numbers like he gained against two opponents Tuesday, he might just pull it off. Then again, he might experience campaign fatigue and decline to jump into something that will almost certainly include a Democratic opponent in the general election in November. Only time, and a filing, will tell.

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