Melissa Oremus won the S.C. House District 84 runoff election Tuesday night, clearing what is essentially the last significant hurdle between her and the capitol.
Oremus, a Republican, secured about 56% of the vote. She beat Alvin Padgett, another Republican, who secured nearly 44% of the vote. Both Oremus and Padgett are small-business owners.
No Democrat filed for the special election, rendering the Oct. 1 election wide open, save for write-ins.
Oremus on Tuesday night said she was very excited by the win.
"It's been whirlwind," she said.
Oremus was the only woman in the House race.
District 84 is entirely in Aiken County and is pinched between Aiken and eastern North Augusta. The district stretches south beyond the Savannah River Site and Jackson, as well. Parts of it are referred to as "The Valley."
The District 84 seat is vacant following state Rep. Ronnie Young's death earlier this year. Young, a Clearwater Republican, for years led the Aiken County Council.
Candidates in the District 84 race, six, initially, said filling Young's shoes would be a sizable task. Young was presented the Order of the Palmetto – the state's highest civilian honor – in mid-May. It was delivered by State House Speaker Jay Lucas, a Hartsville Republican, on behalf of the governor during a ceremony at Young's home.
Young at the time described the Order of the Palmetto as "prestigious."
District 84 is regarded as safely Republican. The race to Tuesday was largely consumed by conservative policy and references to President Donald Trump. At one point, a candidate who was dropping out of the race urged voters to support "genuine" Republicans, not "those who only pretend to be Republicans."
Aiken County Republican Party Chairman Bob Brookshire on Tuesday night said Oremus will make a "good House representative."
"I think she'll do a great job," Brookshire said, later complimenting Padgett for running a "great campaign."
He had previously described both Oremus and Padgett as "qualified candidates."
Staff writer Dede Biles contributed to this report.