Sen. Lindsey Graham has won South Carolina's Republican party outright, defeating six challengers and avoiding a runoff.
The 58-year-old Graham had about 59 percent of the vote in early returns Tuesday, far more than the 50 percent he needed to avoid the runoff. His nearest rival Lee Bright had less than 14 percent of the vote
Graham's challengers had argued he was not conservative enough. But Graham, who has been in office since 2002, had a hefty fundraising advantage. He has raised more than $12 million since his last re-election bid in 2008, while none of his opponents passed the $1 million mark.
Graham faces Democratic State Sen. Brad Hutto, as well as Libertarian Victor Kocher, in the November general election.
In the other South Carolina Senatorial race, Tim Scott, who was appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley in 2013 following the resignation of former Sen. Jim DeMint won with more than 90 percent of the vote against challenger Randall Young. He will now face Democrat Joyce Dickerson in the special election in November.
© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.