Beaufort goes to the ballot box

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An intense 2018 midterm election cycle came to a close Tuesday when voters across the country went to the polls to elect a new Congress and have their say in local and state races.

Polls closed after press time Tuesday, but early indications pointed toward record turnout in South Carolina, where more than 296,000 absentee ballots were issued by the early voting deadline of 5 p.m. Monday, up from about 157,000 absentee ballots returned in the 2014 midterms. 

More than 18,000 absentee ballots were cast in Beaufort County, the fourth-most in the state behind Charleston, Richland, and Greenville counties. 

Some of the state races were more hotly-contested than is typical in South Carolina, as Democrats put up challenges to seats that have long been Republican strongholds. 

Most notably, the race for the U.S. House of Representatives District 1 seat held by Mark Sanford drew national attention from both parties, leading to a number of high-profile visitors to the Lowcountry campaign trail. In the final days before the election, President Donald Trump’s voice was heard on robocalls supporting Republican candidate Katie Arrington, who campaigned in the Lowcountry alongside the likes of Second Lady Karen Pence, Donald Trump Jr., and former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle. 

Meanwhile, Democratic candidate Joe Cunningham made a last-minute push by canvassing in Bluffton and speaking on Hilton Head Island on Sunday and was supported by a visit from Julian Castro, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and a potential 2020 presidential candidate.

For a list of local and statewide results, please visit yourislandnews.com. 

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