Pinckney leading challenger Bessinger

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Pinckney leading challenger Bessinger

By PATRICK DONOHUE
pdonohue@beaufortgazette.com
Published Tuesday, November 6, 2012   |  241 Words  |  

S.C. Sen. Clementa Pinckney appears headed for another term representing the state's largest Senate district, according to preliminary results Tuesday.

As of 10:45 p.m., Pinckney, D-Ridgeland, had won 64 percent of the vote in his race against Republican challenger Leilani Bessinger of Beaufort, according to unofficial results from the S.C. Election Commission.

Pinckney won 58 percent of the vote in Beaufort County and 67 percent in Jasper County, according to the results.

Election results from Hampton County were not available as of press time.

District 45 has 60,000 residents and includes St. Helena Island and the Sea Islands, Sheldon, Dale and Lobeco. It also picks up a portion of southern Beaufort County along New Riverside Drive and Palmetto Bluff Road. Most of Hampton County and parts of Allendale, Colleton and Charleston counties also lie within the district.

Pinckney, a pastor at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, has spent 16 years in the General Assembly -- four as a representative and the past 12 as a senator.

Bessinger, a litigation paralegal, is related to the noted South Carolina barbecue family through marriage. She was making her first bid for political office.

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