South Carolina State and Federal Races

Tracking the Presidential and congressional races.

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8:15 a.m.: SC Influential Conservatives Say Romney Won Ground Game

Former Gov. Mitt Romney won the South Carolina ground game on the way to the presidency, said participants in our final Red Palmetto survey of nearly 100 influential conservatives across South Carolina.

Of the 30 conservatives who responded to our final poll, 63.3 percent said Romney "by a wide margin" had the best ground game. And 46.7 percent said Romney had the better media/advertising effort in the state.

But convincing undecideds, which lis a goal of large advertising buys and compelling efforts on the ground, is not an important piece of winning South Carolina's electoral votes.

Instead, 80 percent of participants said getting the GOP base out to the polls was the more-important than convincing undecideds.


Today marks the end of one of the most topsy-turvy presidential campaigns in memory. From the start, Mitt Romney was the presumed Republican frontrunner to challenge incumbent Barack Obama. That is precisely the match-up we ended up with, but it was a very circuitous journey.

At one point or another, almost every one of Romney’s opponents in the Republican primary spent time at the top of the polls. Had Romney’s rivals coalesced around one candidate, it’s possible he could have been beaten. But they didn’t and he wasn’t.

Romney began the primary season by finishing in a virtual tie in Iowa with Rick Santorum, winning comfortably in New Hampshire and then getting trounced by New Gingrich here in South Carolina. At that point, the race for the nomination was up for grabs. But Romney used his superior organization and deep pockets to outlast Santorum and secure the nomination. Once Romney locked up the race, it snapped South Carolina’s streak of picking the eventual GOP nominee every election year since 1976.

Romney’s race with Obama has been tight from the start. Obama surged after the conventions and appeared to be in command of the race. But an inexplicably lackluster performance in the first debate allowed Romney to surge. According to the polls, Romney has for brief periods held an edge in the nation’s popular vote, but Obama has maintained his lead in Electoral College totals throughout the race. In recent weeks, Obama regained his footing and his held a small but steady lead over Romney.

Most non-partisan observers—which are admittedly hard to find—are projecting an Obama victory today. The Real Clear Politics Poll of Polls predicts a final Electoral College tally of 303 to 235, with Obama narrowly defeating Romney in the popular vote.

Despite South Carolina not being in play in the Presidential race, the state is where Obama received a major boost in 2008 when Greenwood’s Edith Childs got him “Fired Up and Ready to Go.”

House Races

In South Carolina, the six incumbent Congressmen are up for re-election. None of them are expected to have much trouble winning. In the Grand Strand, voters will select a representative for the newly-formed 7th District.

House 1 – Incumbent Tim Scott (R) faces Bobbie Rose (D).

House 2 – Incumbent Joe Wilson (R) is unopposed.

House 3 – Incumbent Jeff Duncan (R) faces Brian Doyle (D).

House 4 – Incumbent Trey Gowdy (R) faces Deb Morrow (D).

House 5 – Incumbent Mick Mulvaney (R) faces Joyce Knott (D).

House 6 – Incumbent Jim Clyburn (D) faces Nammu Muhammad (G).

House 7 – (New District) Tom Rice (R) faces Gloria Tinubu (D).

Constitutional Amendment

The state has a Constitutional Amendment being considered. Read it HERE.

A “Yes” vote would allow the governor and lieutenant governor to run on the same ballot starting in 2018.

A “No” vote would maintain the status quo.

Haley Endorsements

Gov. Nikki Haley, aside from endorsing Mitt Romney, has also promoted several state candidates.

  • Political newcomer Tony Barwick for Senate District 35 in Sumter County
  • 20-year incumbent Larry Martin in Senate District 2.
  • Along the coast, the governor is supporting Georgetown County Solicitor Greg Hembree against Democrat Butch Johnson in House District 28.
  • The Movement Fund, a 527 created to help raise money for candidates who support Haley’s “conservative reform agenda”, has contributed money for advertisements backing DeeDee Vaughters in her Senate 26 race against nine-term Democrat Nikki Setzler. The fund has also helped pay for mailers in the Senate 23 race where petition candidate Katrina Shealy is facing Haley nemesis Jake Knotts.
  • In the primary season, Haley endorsed Lee Bright in Senate District 10 and Tom Rice for the new Congressional seat in the Grand Strand area. Both men won.

Keep up with all of Patch's coverage of South Carolina politics by following us on Facebook HERE and Twitter HERE.


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