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South Carolina: “The OTHER” Special Election Today

While everyone is watching the special election in Georgia, do you even realize there’s another special election today—in South Carolina? While Georgia has been siphoning off all the money and attention, the state next door is being ignored. Why is that?

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Because it’s not a “race,” according to the New Jersey Herald.

South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District has all the usual campaign season trappings: signs dot many front yards and the airwaves are jammed with political ads. Yet the special election to fill the House seat vacated when Mick Mulvaney became White House budget director has largely unfolded without the intense partisan fever of contests elsewhere, like Georgia’s hotly disputed congressional race.

Voters on Tuesday choose between Ralph Norman, a Republican backing the Trump administration, and Archie Parnell, a Democrat who says he is best aligned to represent the district’s voters, in a district that was a Democratic stronghold more than a century until the Republican Mulvaney rode into office on a tea party wave in 2010. . .

Norman has the backing of big-name conservatives such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who both have campaigned with him. A Washington-based conservative group, the Club for Growth, also infused Norman’s GOP runoff campaign with TV ads, and he’s run plenty of his own.

National Democratic Chairman Tom Perez has stumped with Parnell, as have a handful of congressional Democrats. But the race has drawn none of the national attention of Georgia’s contest. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has only dropped $275,000 into the race, compared to a $5 million investment in the special election in Georgia’s 6th District, which has been in GOP hands since Newt Gingrich’s 1978 victory.

But the Charleston Post Currier says the election is not meaningless, just because it’s being ignored.

. . . the stakes remain high in South Carolina. If elected, Norman would join the Republican majority in the U.S. House that has sought to advance Trump’s promised agenda, while Parnell has vowed to oppose major parts of the president’s budget and health care priorities. . .

The congressional fight over the American health care system has bled over into special elections, including South Carolina’s 5th District race, as the candidates have been pressed to clarify their positions on the Republican’s American Health Care Act.

The questions have left Norman explaining whether he supports the current version of the Republican bill, which is estimated to increase the number of uninsured individuals in the country by 23 million people by 2026, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. . .

The special election has also seen a focus put on Trump’s first proposed budget that was drafted and rolled out by Mulvaney. . . Norman says he’s in support of Trump’s proposed budget plan, which increases military spending by nearly $500 million over the next 10 years but slashes $1.4 trillion over that same time period for Medicaid, food stamps, environmental initiatives and other non-defense spending. . .

But Parnell thinks Mulvaney’s work, which only balances the budget over the next decade by factoring in exorbitant growth estimates, is cruel and reduces people to numbers.

A Democratic poll (consider the source) suggests that the South Carolina special election may not be a “slam-dunk” after all. Dems are celebrating being “only” ten points behind.

A poll from Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, completed on May 25 and obtained by The Post, has Democrat Archie Parnell down by 10 points to Ralph Norman, a state legislator making his second run at the rural and suburban seat. That’s a six-point bump for Parnell since March, when he began running TV ads, and it’s closer than the margin in Mulvaney’s last few races or the last presidential elections in South Carolina’s 5th District.

Here, too, health care is an issue.

Just 42 percent of the district’s voters back the American Health Care Act, which the pollster described as the bill “to repeal and replace” the current health-care law. Fifty percent of voters opposed it.

Part of Parnell’s campaign has to do with wanting some balance in Washington, which is tightly controlled in all three branches by the Republican Party. Remember when Republicans were running last year, saying we will need a counterbalance to “President Hillary”??

Parnell has run as a pragmatist who wants to check the House Republican agenda. . . Parnell has been able to campaign without a Republican tracker filming his moves. . .Parnell has not been the target of a single negative spot. . .

Parnell’s sunshine-y ad campaign has leaned into his dry, deadpan persona.

About the only thing of interest in the South Carolina campaign is this humorous ad in which Parnell suggests that Trump’s Washington is like Kevin Spacey’s political Netflix show, “House of Cards.”

By the way, if you think Parnell will beat the odds and win, if you go to PredictIt, you can bet $3 and if he wins, you’ll get $100 back. In other words, good luck with that.

Goethe Behr :Goethe Behr is a Contributing Editor and Moderator at Election Central. He started out posting during the 2008 election, became more active during 2012, and very active in 2016. He has been a political junkie since the 1950s and enjoys adding a historical perspective.