GEORGETOWN, S.C. (AP) _ Elaine Elliott should have been very happy Wednesday morning. After all, she had won her way into a runoff to be the Democratic nominee for Georgetown County clerk of court.

The only problem was the third-highest vote total in Tuesday's primary went to the current clerk of court, Ruby Moore _ Elliott's boss. Wednesday, when Elliott went to work for the first time after taking a leave March 30, she was fired.

``She was waiting for me in the hall with a letter,'' Elliott said. ``It said, 'You are no longer employed with the clerk of court's office.' ''

Elliott, who worked in the office for four years before deciding this year to run for the top post, beat Moore to the runoff by 19 votes. She will face the top vote-getter, Alma White, in the June 27 runoff.

Moore confirmed that she fired Elliott, who was deputy clerk of court in charge of civil cases.

``She was supposed to get my OK first before taking leave,'' Moore said. ``That's not my whole reason for firing her. This is my office for now, and I have the authority to hire and fire who I want.

``I'm not vindictive. She knows what she's done.''

Elliott said she filed for the office about a week before Moore did. She took a leave of absence to campaign when she learned that Moore would seek re-election, feeling she would be uncomfortable working with someone she was campaigning against. Moore said she didn't object to the leave because she thought County Administrator Tommy Edwards had approved it. But Edwards said only Moore could have approved it.