A combative contest among six challengers is expected to produce a record voter turnout in Saturday’s GOP presidential primary.
As of midday Thursday, about 38,000 absentee ballots had been cast in the GOP contest. That exceeds the 35,595 absentee ballots cast in 2008 — a record total that included both the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries.
The turnout record for the GOP primary was set in 2012 — at 583,000 votes. However, voters who want to cast ballots for or against GOP front-runner Donald Trump are expected to exceed that total.
Elections officials in Lexington County, a Republican bellwether, expect 20,000 more votes to be cast Saturday than during the 2012 primary.
The outcome of Saturday’s primary is expected to winnow the number of GOP candidates — now six — but stop short of clearing the way for a political coronation as it has done in the past.