An email from the S.C. Democratic Party blasted out with the subject line: “We Can Win the South.”
Former S.C. Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison tweeted that his “hands are literally shaking.”
South Carolina Democrats were celebrating Tuesday night after the Associated Press called the U.S. Senate race in Alabama for Democrat Doug Jones in a win over Republican Roy Moore, whose campaign was dogged by accusations from women who said Moore pursued them when they were teenagers.
The win for Democrats will trim the GOP majority in the U.S. Senate to 51 of 100 seats once Jones is sworn in.
Never miss a local story.
But in South Carolina, Democrats saw the upset victory as a sign that they, too, can achieve a goal that has eluded them since 2006: winning a statewide office.
“If we believe we can win, we'll put a candidate up in every Republican-held seat in the State House,” the Democratic Party’s email said. “If we believe we can win, we will elect Democrats to statewide offices in South Carolina again.”
Time will tell whether the party fields candidates to challenge Republicans in state legislative seats. However, expecting a repeat of Alabama in South Carolina is a stretch, according to Winthrop University political scientist Scott Huffmon.
“Bless their hearts, South Carolina Democrats really need some hope at the moment and this is it,” Huffmon said. “But the fact is, there's not a Roy Moore running in South Carolina.”
Huffmon said Republicans staying home because they could not bring themselves to vote for Moore, combined with African American women turning out in higher numbers led to Tuesday’s outcome in the Alabama Senate race.
Democrats in South Carolina would need a similarly flawed candidate as Moore.
In the meantime, here’s a look at how some S.C. politicos – Democratic and Republican – and observers reacted to the news out of Alabama:
▪ Antjuan Seawright, a Democratic consultant who was working on the Jones campaign, tweeted: “Historic Night! We did what they said we could not do! Thank ya the journey #FinishedStrong”
▪ Republican S.C. Sen. Greg Gregory: “Looks like Roy Moore will be riding off into the schoolyard.”
▪ Reacting to a tweet that “Folks at the Moore victory party yelling ‘call it!’” Joel Sawyer, a former communications aide to Republican Gov. Mark Sanford, tweeted: “Like in the sense of someone dying on the operating table?”
▪ Archie Parnell, a Democrat who narrowly lost to Republican Ralph Norman in a special election for South Carolina’s 5th District congressional seat, tweeted: “Doug Jones has shown that the voters of the South are far smarter than politicians and pundits have given us credit for. We will drain the swamp and we will say enough to the special interests and their bag men. November 2018 is coming. We are ready, and we are coming for you.”
▪ Joe Cunningham, the Democrat running against now-U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, used Alabama’s news to raise money for his own campaign:
▪ Chris Slick, an aide to the S.C. House GOP caucus, tweeted in response to a headline that Jones stunned the GOP with his upset victory: “Jones didn't ‘stun’ the GOP. He had every card but the wild Joker.”
▪ This is what happened in Alabama, according to Winthrop University Political Scientist Adolphus Belk, who tweeted: