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Former Marine Corps captain Rob Miller of Lady's Island will take on U.S. Rep Joe Wilson, R-Lexington, in November's general election after defeating Hilton Head Island's Blaine Lotz in Tuesday's Democratic primary.
Miller, 33, who left the military in February after serving two tours in Iraq, had 65.7 percent of the vote, to Lotz's 34.3 percent according to results available at 11 p.m. Tuesday from the sprawling 2nd Congressional District.
Wilson, who's held the seat since winning a 2001 special election, won easily with about 85.2 percent of the vote. He defeated Phil Black, the co-owner of a Lexington County hardware store.
Miller, who celebrated his win in Columbia, said he would continue to talk to voters about the economy, jobs and Iraq, where he supports a withdrawal of combat troops.
Lotz, a retired Air Force colonel and long-time Defense Department employee, remained upbeat after hearing the results. "Obviously we're disappointed, but we're proud of the race we ran," he said, thanking his campaign staff and volunteers.
Lotz also called Miller to congratulate him and said the two plan to meet this week to discuss the fall campaign.
"I'm not going to sit in the corner somewhere," said Lotz, who vowed to stay active in the local community and in politics.
Taking a break from celebrating, Wilson said he wasn't taking November's general election for granted and predicted a spirited campaign. According to unofficial state election commission results, Wilson had received about twice the combined number of votes of Miller and Lotz.
Pointing to his high margin of victory, Wilson said, "I really appreciate that in my home community (Springdale), I received between 80 and 90 percent of the vote."