Politics & Government

Former SC GOP chairman running for Congress

Chad Connelly
Chad Connelly

The former chairman of the S.C. Republican Party has joined the list of candidates seeking to replace U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney in South Carolina’s 5th District.

Chad Connelly announced on Monday he will run for the congressional seat in a special election this year. Mulvaney, R-Indian Land, is expected to resign once he is confirmed as President Donald Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Connelly, a Newberry resident, was head of the state GOP from 2011 to 2013, leaving to become national director of faith engagement for the Republican National Committee.

Connelly also previously served in the U.S. Army and the S.C. National Guard. He was the youngest senior manager for PSI, a national engineering firm, before launching his own career as a small business consultant.

If elected, Connelly said he plans to introduce legislation to limit members of Congress to 12 years in office – six terms in the House or two terms in the Senate.

“Washington is broken and I want to do my part to try and fix it,” Connelly said. “As such, I will lead a fight for term limits in the U.S. Congress, pledging to lead by example and serving no more than 12 years.”

As part of his job with the Republican National Committee, Connelly said he has met with voters across the country, adding he thinks his lack of experience in elected office will capture the “outsider” mood of voters.

“I’ve talked to people from every background, every ethnicity, every denomination,” Connelly said. “I don’t think the people in Washington now have that perspective.”

Connelly is the sixth Republican candidate to jump into the race. Also running are two current officeholders; S.C. House Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope, R-York, and state Rep. Ralph Norman, R-York.

The other candidates on the GOP side are Camden attorney and S.C. State Guard commander Tom Mullikin; education activist Sheri Few; and Indian Land attorney Kris Wampler.

There are no Democrats currently running.

Connelly thinks he would make a good replacement for Mulvaney.

“When I was the county chair in Newberry, I was the first to endorse him,” Connelly said. “The fact that he’s been tapped to head OMB is an honor.”

FILLING A 5TH DISTRICT VACANCY

The 5th District covers all of Cherokee, Chester, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lancaster, Lee, Union and York counties, as well as portions of Newberry, Spartanburg and Sumter counties.

When would a special election be held? South Carolina lays out an election schedule that begins on the day that U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney resigns, which likely won’t happen until after he is confirmed to join the Trump Administration.

If Mulvaney resigns this week, the earliest that candidates could file to run for the seat would be March 3. The primary would be on May 2, the runoff on May 16 and the general election on June 20.

SOURCE: S.C. State Election Commission

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