By Ray Chandler

WALHALLA — Eight-term House District 2 Representative Bill Sandifer is going back to the statehouse in Columbia.

Sandifer handily won Tuesday’s Republican primary over Seneca businessman and political newcomer Jonathan Redmond with 3,160 votes to Redmond’s 2,526 votes, according to unofficial results. Sandifer received nearly 56 percent of the vote to win his ninth term.

Sandifer will face no Democratic opposition in November.

The incumbent established an early lead with the absentee votes and held on to it throughout Tuesday’s vote count. Redmond never took the lead but narrowed the margin with victories in five of the 16 voting precincts in the district and close votes in others. Sandifer won 11 precincts besides the absentee votes for the district that includes the greater Seneca area.

Sandifer had campaigned on what he described as his ability to build consensus and his record of conservatism and fiscal responsibility.

Redmond held that Sandifer was too liberal on some spending issues and that he was the most conservative of the two. He favored an overhaul of the state taxation system to make it broader based.

The two agreed on strict and increased enforcement of immigration laws, favoring a state immigration enforcement law similar to that recently passed by Arizona.

The candidates disagreed, however, on the issue of school vouchers. Sandifer opposed them but was open to a pilot program of vouchers for education of people with special needs as a way to relieve some of the pressures on the public education system.

Neither candidate was available for comment Tuesday.