PICKENS COUNTY — Pickens County voters showed the rest of the state how it was done in the Republican Presidential Preference primary held statewide on Saturday, posting a state high 36.31 percent voting percentage.
The next closest county was Oconee County with 32.85 percent, followed by Lexington County with 32.69 percent, Beaufort County with 32.11 percent, Greenville County with 31.44 percent, Anderson County with 30.92 percent and Saluda County with 30.59 percent.
The lowest voter turnout was recorded in Allendale County, with 6.27 percent of registered voters — 367 of 5,852 — casting ballots.
April Bagwell, Office Coordinator with Pickens County’s Board of Voter Registration and Elections, said it was an unexpected number.
“This was definitely a higher turnout than we had expected or planned for, and that is not just Pickens County but the state as well,” Bagwell said. “When we started seeing the numbers of absentee ballots on Thursday and Friday before the primary we had a feeling there would be more than was usual, definitely more than we had projected. It was definitely a higher number.”
In Pickens County, voters cast 7,136 votes, or 30.13 percent, for Donald Trump, followed by Ted Cruz with 6,393 votes (26.99 percent), Marco Rubio with 4,961 votes (20.95 percent), Jeb Bush with 2,033 (8.58 percent), Ben Carson with 1,714 (7.24 percent) and John R. Kasich with 1,448 (6.11 percent).
Bush, who made an appearance in Central at Daniel High School on Friday night, suspended his campaign late Saturday night.
“We laid out plans on everything from reforming our tax and regulatory system, to reviving our economy, to rebuilding our military, to fixing the VA once and for all,” he said. “I am grateful to Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, for his steadfast support and his amazing humor. He stole the line that I’m now saying which is that he has become a friend for life.”
Graham, who is from Central and graduated from Daniel High School, had accompanied Bush on his visit Friday night.
Statewide, Trump took the day with 32.50 percent. Cruz and Rubio ran neck and neck, separated by only .14 percent with Rubio at 22.48 percent and Cruz 22.34 percent.
Pickens County lists some 65,599 registered voters and with turnout for presidential primaries being in the “20 percent to 24 percent” range, the overwhelming turnout at the polls. Absentee votes came as a bit of a surprise — 23,818 ballots were cast for a 36.31 percent turnout.
Six voting precincts in Pickens County broke the 40 percent ceiling: Sitton with 43.38 percent, Nine Forks with 43.35 percent, Crestview with 42.93 percent, Pumpkintown with 41.80 percent, Skelton with 41.56 percent and Sheffield with 40.14 percent.
The Democratic Presidential Preference Primary will be held Feb. 27. If you voted on Saturday, you are not eligible to vote in the Democratic PPP.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will be on that ballot.
Reach D. C. Moody at 864-855-0355.