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The man who rules the state's second-largest industry coasted to victory Tuesday over a fellow farmer who wanted to take the incumbent's job.
With 1,843 of the state's 2,059 precincts reporting, State Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers, a Republican, declared victory with 60 percent of the vote over Democrat Emile DeFelice's 40 percent.
"The real thing the voters recognized was that leadership for industry can make agriculture better and South Carolina better," said Weathers, a third-generation dairy farmer from Bowman. "We have our marching orders to continue the path we are on."
DeFelice, who produces a rare-breed of gourmet pork on his 40-acre organic farm in Calhoun County, said his slogan, "Put Your State on Your Plate," summed up his passion for South Carolina foods.
"I lost," DeFelice said. "I tried as hard as I could. I'm really proud of running a clean and old-fashioned political race."
Weathers was appointed by Gov. Mark Sanford in 2004 to fill the unexpired term of Charles Sharpe who pleaded guilty to extortion after admitting he took a $10,000 bribe to protect a cockfighting organization.
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