The vote was so close in last week’s Republican primary for the South Carolina 5th District that a mandatory recount kicked in. Lucky for former state Rep. Ralph Norman the recount verified his election night victory over S.C. House Speaker Pro Tem Tommy Pope. The marginwas just over 200 votes out of 35,000 cast. That’s what the political professionals call “close.”
It was always a long shot that Pope would find the votes to overturn the original results, but the law said they had to go through the motions.
Norman will now face Democrat Archie Parnell in the June 20th general election to fill the district’s U.S. House seat. That seat has been vacant since U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney left to become Trump’s budget director.
Norman is a strong conservative who has embraced Trump. Pope is more of a centrist. According to the Post and Courier, Norman’s win might give Democrats chance to hope they can take the seat, although handicappers call it Safe for Republicans.
Curiously, this seat was Democratic since Reconstruction before Mulvaney won it for the Republicans in 2010. It was redistricted in 2012, so maybe that benefitted Republicans as so much redistricting has (South Carolina has strong Republican majorities in their General Assembly). If that’s not it (and as there is no incumbent), why are Democrats seen as unlikely to strongly contest here, especially in an environment where support for Trump in these otherwise red districts could be a mixed blessing?
I note that Republican Mulvaney held the seat by just 11 points in 2012, which was after redistricting. I’m just saying this one could be within sniffing distance.