Politics & Government

SC legislator resigns seat to run for Congress

Ralph Norman
Ralph Norman

At almost the same time that Mick Mulvaney was being confirmed by the U.S. Senate as President Trump’s budget director, a state legislator resigned his seat in the S.C. House to run to replace Mulvaney in Congress.

State Rep. Ralph Norman, R-York, resigned his House seat Thursday as Mulvaney was being confirmed as the director of Trump’s Office of Management and Budget.

Among the half-dozen declared GOP candidates for the 5th District seat is Norman’s fellow York County lawmaker, House Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope. Pope said Thursday he would continue to hold his seat during the campaign.

“I was elected to represent the people of House District 47 and will continue to uphold my commitment to work faithfully on their behalf,” Pope said. “Further I was selected by my peers in Columbia to provide leadership as Speaker Pro Tempore of the House.”

Norman said the timing was no coincidence – he wants the special election to fill his House seat in Columbia to play out on the same schedule as the congressional race in South Carolina’s 5th District.

“I saved the taxpayers $25,000 to $55,000 by having the election at the same time,” Norman said, moments after handing in his resignation letter to House Speaker Jay Lucas.

Plus, “I think it’s unfair to take a paycheck from the taxpayers while I’m running.”

Legislators are paid up front for their attendance at the annual legislative session in Columbia. Norman said he would cut a check for the portion of the $10,400 in pay that he didn’t work this year, money that will go back into the state’s general fund.

Meanwhile, Pope said that even as the Fifth District campaign builds up steam this spring, “there are many important issues coming before us in Columbia.”

“My peers expect my leadership and the families in my district deserve to be represented. I won’t let them down,” he said.

Norman, a Rock Hill real estate developer, has been in the S.C. House since 2009. He previously was in the House from 2005-06, when he lost a bid to unseat then-U.S. Rep. John Spratt in the 5th District.

Norman says his business experience and S.C. House voting record separate him from the rest of the crowded GOP primary field. “If you liked Mulvaney’s record, you’ll love mine.”


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.

▪ Filing to run for the seat will begin March 3 and continue for 10 days.

▪ The primary will be on May 2.

▪ A runoff, if necessary, will be May 16.

▪ The general election will be June 20.

SOURCE: S.C. State Election Commission