Republican Reichenbach wins special SC Senate election

March 30, 2022 GMT

FLORENCE, S.C. (AP) — A Republican who is a political newcomer and owns car dealerships was elected the newest member of the South Carolina Senate on Tuesday.

Mike Reichenbach was the overwhelming winner of a special election to fill the seat in Florence and Darlington counties left open when state Sen. Hugh Leatherman died last year. He defeated Democrat and social worker Suzanne La Rochelle.

Reichenbach will be the only Black Republican senator in the General Assembly. The results will be certified at the end of the week, allowing Reichenbach to take his seat next week.

With nearly all the ballots counted, Reichenbach had 90% of the vote, according to South Carolina Election Commission figures.

Along with his car dealerships, Reichenbach has worked as a state constable and a game warden.

Reichenbach spent nearly $500,000 on the race, taking out $384,000 in loans for his campaign, according to campaign finance reports.

Leatherman held the seat for more than 40 years before his death.