One of the runners-up in the 5th District’s GOP primary Monday endorsed former state Rep. Ralph Norman in next week’s runoff.
Chad Connelly, a former chairman of the S.C. Republican Party and Republican National Committee staffer, endorsed Norman in a press conference in Connelly’s home town of Newberry.
Of the two remaining Republican candidates, Norman comes closest to his views, Connelly said.
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“If you have to lose, it’s best to lose to somebody who thinks like you,” Connelly said. “At debates, there was a lot of, ‘Hey, you used my line.’”
Connelly won 14 percent of the vote in last week’s GOP primary, finishing fourth. Norman and state Rep. Tommy Pope, R-York, finished in a near-tie at the top of a seven-candidate field. They now will face off in a heated runoff next Tuesday.
Connelly, who previously oversaw faith engagement for the Republican National Committee, had backing from national conservative figures — including U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, the N.C. Republican who heads the House Freedom Caucus, and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, as well as U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens.
The GOP primary’s third-place finisher, Camden businessman Tom Mullikin, has yet to endorse either Pope or Norman.