The South Carolina 5th congressional special election. Do the Dems have a fighting chance?

As I wrote yesterday, there is going to be a special election in the South Carolina 5th congressional district to fill the seat left vacant when Mick Mulvaney stepped down to take on responsibilities as Trump’s budget director. Party primary day is May 2; if no candidate gets 50 percent or more, party runoffs will be on May 16. The general election is June 20.

The action seems to be all on the GOP side as Cook, Rothenberg, and Sabato all call this a safe Republican seat. I’m a little confused by that assessment given that the district has only been Republican since 2011 when Democratic incumbent John M. Spratt, Jr. was defeated by Republican Mick Mulvaney. Sprat held the seat beginning in 1983, although Mulvaney won by 20 points in November, so maybe that’s it.

I’m not the only one wondering why the bigger names in political prognostication are giving it to the Republicans so easily, though. Brtistow Marchant at The State raised recent strong showings in Kansas and Georgia as reason for Democratic optimism.

One local Democratic official put it this way, “This could well be a sleeper in a district where we know a majority of the voters are comfortable voting for a Democrat. The history of the district, the DNA of the district shows that they will vote for a Democrat.”

Democratic primary candidates are described thusly:

Alexis Frank, is a 6-year U.S. Army veteran from Hartsville, South Carolina, and Les Murphy is a disabled U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and the founder of a local faith-based non-profit organization called the Carolina Veterans Commission. Also competing in the democratic primary is Archie Parnell, the adopted son of a prominent York County, South Carolina WWII veteran who has served previously as a tax attorney, a senior Goldman Sachs advisor, as well as a staff member on the House Committee on Ways & Means.

Seven Republicans have declared. State Rep. Tommy Pope is the front runner and presumably the favourite to take seat.

While his ad below is for the Republican nomination, it certainly displays an affinity for Trump’s agenda. Perhaps there is a clue in that as to why so many think the GOP will so easily hold here. Tommy Pope doesn’t feel the need to moderate his position to attract a wider base.

Not that this means anything, but fictional Netflix President Frank Underwood represented the South Carolina 5th congressional district as a Democrat. Chew on that.

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