Democrats in SC trying to win 1st statewide race in 16 years

Nov 4, 2022, 4:05 PM | Updated: Nov 5, 2022, 10:36 am
FILE - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster greets lawmakers ahead of his State of the State address ...

FILE - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster greets lawmakers ahead of his State of the State address on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, in Columbia, S.C. Democrats in South Carolina get another shot at loosening the firm grasp Republican have on statewide politics as voting ends Tuesday for the 2022 elections. But it's likely to be a tough fight.(AP Photo/Meg Kinnard, File)

(AP Photo/Meg Kinnard, File)

              Gov. Henry McMaster and former U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham participate in a gubernatorial debate in Columbia, S.C., on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022. (John A. Carlos II/The Post And Courier via AP)
              FILE - South Carolina Democratic nominee for governor Joe Cunningham holds a news conference to say he would veto any further restrictions on abortion if he becomes governor on Monday, June 27, 2022, in Columbia, S.C. Democrats in South Carolina get another shot at loosening the firm grasp Republican have on statewide politics as voting ends Tuesday for the 2022 elections. But it's likely to be a tough fight. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins, File)
              FILE - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster greets lawmakers ahead of his State of the State address on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, in Columbia, S.C.  Democrats in South Carolina get another shot at loosening the firm grasp Republican have on statewide politics as voting ends Tuesday for the 2022 elections. But it's likely to be a tough fight.(AP Photo/Meg Kinnard, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Democrats in South Carolina get another shot at loosening the firm grasp Republicans have on statewide politics as voting ends Tuesday for the 2022 midterm elections.

But it’s likely to be a tough fight. Democrats haven’t won a statewide race in 16 years, have candidates in just four of the eight races on ballots across South Carolina, and face well-financed and Republican establishment-supported challengers in all of them.

Three of the Republicans are incumbents, with Gov. Henry McMaster at the top of the ticket.

Since the turn of the century, Republicans have taken on Democrats in 39 statewide races in South Carolina and won 36 of them. The closest race since Democratic Education Superintendent Jim Rex had the last win for his party in 2006 was the 2010 governor’s race that Nikki Haley won by 4.5 percentage points.

The Democrats did flip a U.S. House seat in the coastal 1st District in 2018, but it flipped back to Republicans in 2020.


McMaster faces Joe Cunningham, who is trying to reverse the fortune of Democrats in South Carolina by running a different kind of campaign.

Cunningham, 40, wants to end the state income tax, legalize marijuana and sports betting and has criticized McMaster for not suspending the state gas tax when fuel prices rose. Days before the election, he promised to offer half the Cabinet jobs in his administration to Republicans because diversity of ideas is important to him.

Cunningham also has hammered the age difference between himself and McMaster, 75.

McMaster, governor since January 2017, is largely running on his record. He touts an income tax cut passed this year, work to expand interstates and improve highways across the state and a booming economy that survived the COVID-19 shutdown.

Democrats hope the debate debate over abortion may change their fortunes. Cunningham has campaigned on vetoing any further restrictions on abortion passed by the General Assembly, which is dominated by Republicans but falls just short of a two-thirds majority that could override his veto.

The candidates debated just once, with McMaster saying if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its ruling allowing gay marriage across the country, he would support a ban on same sex marriage that remains in the South Carolina constitution.

“Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I think marriage ought to be between a man and a woman,” McMaster said at the Oct. 26 debate, adding he doesn’t care who anyone loves, but “marriage is a special institution.”

Cunningham said that stance shows how out of touch McMaster is after four decades in politics. “It’s 2022, and Gov. McMaster wants to ban same-sex marriage,” he said.

Since July 1, McMaster’s campaign has spent $3.2 million, while Cunningham’s campaign has spent $1.3 million, according to spending reports with the South Carolina ethics commission.


U.S. Sen. Tim Scott is seeking a second, full six-year term against Democratic state Rep. Krystle Matthews.

Scott did not agree to a debate in a mostly low-key campaign. He has spent much of 2022 helping other Republicans around the country.

Scott has promised his second full term will be his last in the U.S. Senate, but has been coy about whether he plans to run for other offices, including president.

Scott has spent nearly $27 million on his campaign since the start of 2021, while Matthews has spent about $90,000 since announcing her run earlier this year, according to federal reports.

Matthews also is running for a third term in the South Carolina House, but Republican-dominated redistricting put more likely GOP voters into her district in Berkeley and Charleston counties.


Republican U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace hopes to use a little help from her party’s redistricting efforts to keep the 1st District from flipping parties for a third election.

Mace faces Democratic pediatrician Annie Andrews in the district that stretches from Hilton Head Island to Charleston.

The Republican-dominated General Assembly redrew U.S. House maps after the 2020 Census and removed some traditionally Democratic voters from the rapidly growing 1st District.

Joseph Oddo also is running from the Alliance Party.

South Carolina is guaranteed to have one new congressman among its seven U.S. representatives. Republican state Rep. Russell Fry defeated incumbent Tom Rice in the primary after Rice voted to impeach president Donald Trump. Fry faces Army veteran and Democratic challenger Daryl Scott in the 7th District which runs from Myrtle Beach to Charleston.

U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, the state’s lone congressional Democrat, is running for a 16th term. He is facing Republican attorney Duke Buckner in the 6th District, a majority-minority district from Charleston to Columbia.

Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, first elected in 2001, faces Democratic business owner Judd Larkins in the 2nd District, which includes Columbia’s western suburbs and Aiken.

In the 5th District, which runs from Rock Hill to Sumter, Republican U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, first elected in 2017, faces Democratic real estate agent Evangeline Hundley and Larry Gaither of the Green Party.

Two Republican incumbents have no opposition on the ballot.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan is seeking a seventh term in the 3rd District, which covers the northwest part of South Carolina.

U.S. Rep. William Timmons is running for a third term in the 4th District, which includes Greenville and Spartanburg. Independent candidate Lee Turner, who has run as a Democrat in other races, has an organized write-in campaign.


Democrats are contesting two other statewide offices.

The only open seat is state Education Superintendent, where Republican Ellen Weaver faces Democrat Lisa Ellis.

Weaver is enthusiastically supported by the Republican establishment. Her campaign has spent $800,000 so far through the primary and general election with other outside political committees also contributing heavily toward her election.

Weaver backs any school choice proposal the Republican-dominated General Assembly will send her. She is a conservative think tank CEO and chairwoman of the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee.

But Weaver only obtained the master’s degree required for the superintendent job last month after what she said was an intensive program of about six months. Democrats and others haven’t said if they will challenge Weaver’s qualifications if she wins.

Ellis is a high school English teacher with more than two decades of classroom experience. She founded the teacher group SC for Ed on social media, calling for education improvements, higher pay and better treatment for teachers.

Ellis said South Carolina needs someone with actual education experience to replace outgoing Republican Molly Spearman in the state’s top education job. Her campaign has spent just over $200,000 this year.

The other statewide race pitting a Democrat against an incumbent Republican has Secretary of State Mark Hammond seeking a sixth term against challenger Rosemounda Peggy Butler.

Republican Treasurer Curtis Loftis is seeking a fourth term against Alliance Party candidate Sarah Work, while Republican Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers is seeking a fifth full term against United Citizen Party candidate Chris Nelums and Green Party candidate David Edmond.

Republican Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom is unopposed for a sixth term and Republican Attorney General Alan Wilson has no opponent as he seeks a fourth term.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Republican nominee for U.S. Senate Herschel Walker speaks during a campaign rally on Thursda...
Associated Press

Ga. Senate runoff between Warnock, Walker has bitter closing

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. (AP) — Ads with the candidates’ ex-wives. Cries of “liar” flying in both directions. Stories of a squalid apartment building and abortions under pressure. Questioning an opponent’s independence. His intellect. His mental stability. His religious faith. The extended Senate campaign in Georgia between the Democratic incumbent, Raphael Warnock, and his Republican challenger, […]
1 day ago
FILE - Former Minister for Health Matt Hancock arrives with MP's and Peers for a service of remembr...
Associated Press

Disgraced former UK Minister seeks jungle redemption

LONDON (AP) — Matt Hancock, the U.K’s scandal-prone former health secretary, is seeking an unlikely form of redemption Sunday: attempting to win “I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here” — a grueling, often gruesome reality show set in the Australian jungle. Hancock led Britain’s response to COVID-19 in the first year of the pandemic, […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Airbnb has a plan to fix cleaning fees

Pretty much everyone hates Airbnb cleaning fees — those pesky charges tacked on to your vacation rental bill that supposedly cover the costs to get the place ready for the next visitors. Travelers don’t like the expense, and hosts don’t like charging them, either. Dennis Shirshikov, an Airbnb host who owns a rental property in […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Railway workers in Austria to strike Monday in pay standoff

BERLIN (AP) — Railway workers in Austria are set to hold a one-day strike on Monday after a failed round of talks in pay negotiations. The Austria Press Agency reported Sunday that both sides said the fifth round of talks on pay for some 50,000 employees of about 65 railway operators, including the main national […]
1 day ago
FILE - In this Aug. 7, 2017 file photo, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer informs a migrant c...
Associated Press

Mexican asylum seekers set their sights north — on Canada

MONTREAL (AP) — Pedro Meraz says living in Colima, Mexico, was like living in a war zone, with shootings, burning cars and dismembered bodies being left outside of schools. When his wife Rocio Gonzalez, a 28-year-old lawyer who worked with abused women, began receiving death threats from a cartel and the local authorities ignored her […]
1 day ago
General view of the damaged Antonivsky Bridge in Kherson, Ukraine, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. The bridg...
Associated Press

Pockets of shelling across Ukraine as wintry warfare looms

KHERSON, Ukraine (AP) — Shelling by Russian forces struck several areas in eastern and southern Ukraine overnight as utility crews continued a scramble to restore power, water and heating following widespread strikes in recent weeks, officials said Sunday. With persistent snowfall blanketing the capital, Kyiv, Sunday, analysts predicted that wintry weather — bringing with it […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Democrats in SC trying to win 1st statewide race in 16 years