Republican Ralph Norman’s congressional campaign is making an issue out of Democrat Archie Parnell’s lack of a voting record in South Carolina.
Meanwhile, Parnell’s campaign is making an issue out of Norman’s voting record in South Carolina.
The state elections office has no records of Parnell ever voting in South Carolina until the Sumter native and former Goldman Sachs tax adviser voted for himself in last month’s 5th District Democratic primary.
Elections officials say the 66-year-old political novice’s voter registration appears to have been dormant since June 1972, when Parnell registered.
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Parnell, who has lived and worked in Asia and Europe, updated his registration on Feb. 17 of this year, a little more than two weeks before he announced his congressional run.
“Mr. Parnell hasn’t lived in the 5th Congressional District for 40 years, and, for the past 25 years, he’s called China home,” Norman spokesman R.J. May III told The Buzz. “We are disappointed that Mr. Parnell chose not to engage in the political process in South Carolina.”
Parnell’s campaign fired back, citing the Rock Hill Republican’s long list of “no” votes in the S.C. House.
“If Ralph Norman wants to debate voting records,” spokesman Michael Wukela said, “then he should show up to the NAACP and AARP debates and explain why he voted against flood relief for our farmers, why he voted against supporting first responders with PTSD and why he’s opposed every single infrastructure project put forward with one exception – the extension of Dave Lyle Boulevard, where he owns property and stands to make millions.”
May called that response an attempt to distract voters.
Wukela says Parnell has voted – sometimes absentee – in every presidential election since the 1970s. But he said he does not know where Parnell was registered, except that he once voted in Texas.
A Texas elections official said the Lone Star state does not keep historical voter records. Efforts to reach Parnell directly were unsuccessful.
State records show Norman, who resigned his S.C. House seat in February to run for Congress, has voted consistently in major elections since at least 2000.
The 5th District seat has been open since U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-Indian Land, resigned in February to join the Trump Administration. The long-awaited general election is June 20.
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▪ State Rep. Seth Whipper, D-Charleston, announced his resignation Tuesday to become a magistrate judge. But his resignation likely won’t hurt Democrats’ numbers in S.C. House. Whipper won his heavily Democratic district with more than 99 percent of the vote last November and with 98 percent in 2014.
“Not many leaders can do or say so much with a glance or a smile – Rep. Whipper's smile has been a hallmark of his public service,” S.C. Democratic Party Chair Trav Robertson said after Whipper’s resignation. “His dedication and advocacy for his constituents will be missed in the General Assembly.”