Published On: Thu, Jun 29th, 2017

Republican Ralph Norman wins South Carolina special election

Republican Ralph Norman won a special congressional election last week in a sign that Republican support in the Palmetto State is unwavering in the era of President Donald Trump.

Democrats were not too optimistic about Archie Parnell, a former tax attorney and business manager for Goldman Sachs, who lost to Norman. Norman will now replace Republican Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s new budget director.

Norman, who was just elected to his sixth legislative term in the most populated part of the South Carolina’s 5th District last year, received nearly 45,000 votes, while Parnell collected a little more than 42,000 votes in his first ever political contest.

The President responded:

Norman delivered his victory speech at the Magnolia Room in Rock Hill: “It’s time to govern. It’s time to get things done. It’s time to go to work,” Norman told the crowd.

“Folks, tomorrow and together we’re going to start anew,” he said. “What Washington desperately needs now are citizen legislators that are dedicated to leading a free people and to maintain our god given right to the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

The results in the 11-county district maintains the state Republican Party’s dominance in recent congressional elections, and dashes any Democratic hopes of flipping one of South Carolina’s seven congressional seats before the 2018 mid-term elections.

“What we did here is remarkable,” Parnell told a room full of supporters at Serendipity Catering and Cafe in Sumter. “We stood together against the rising tide of division.”

Parnell told reporters he wasn’t ready to think about another run in next year’s congressional race for a full two-year term, but didn’t rule it out.

“I hope that the strength of our showing will resonate and so that people will hear that something is going on that cannot be ignored,” he said.

South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Trav Robertson said that had the 5th District race gotten a “scintilla” of the national money and attention as the race in Georgia, things would have gone differently for Parnell.

“Our hope is that what Archie’s campaign was capable of doing in such a short time with limited resources can be a light from which people see a path to victory,” he said.

Some GOP political operatives took to social media to say more Republicans would have come out for Norman if the Democrats nationalized the South Carolina race.

The seat was already known to favor Republicans, especially after the state Legislature redrew the state’s congressional boundaries in 2011 and reduced the percentage of black voters in the district, said Winthrop University political scientist Scott Huffmon.

Norman says he would consider shutting down the government to stop a vote on raising the federal debt ceiling, and he supports Trump’s proposed budget that would increase funding for the U.S. military while slashing $1.4 trillion in non-defense spending over the next 10 years.

“I firmly believe that with President Trump in the White House, we have such a great opportunity as conservatives. We have conservatives in the House, the Senate and the executive branch,” Norman said, adding that he may have disagreements with the president from time to time.

Norman was criticized during the Republican primary for voting to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Capitol after the racially-motivated murder of nine black worshipers in Charleston in 2015.

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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