Politics & Government

Sumter Democrat to enter 5th District race

Archie Parnell
Archie Parnell Courtesy of James T. McCain

The race to fill an open S.C. congressional seat has its first Democratic candidate.

Archie Parnell of Sumter, a senior adviser at Goldman Sachs, will announce his candidacy in the 5th District’s special election Tuesday, sources said Friday.

Parnell’s campaign later confirmed he would announce his candidacy at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in downtown York.

Parnell, 66, is a political novice but has more than 36 years of business experience on three continents, including Asia and Europe, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Parnell is the lone Democrat who has announced thus far for the party’s primary for the 5th District seat. That House seat was left vacant when U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-Indian Land, resigned to become President Donald Trump’s budget director.

Meanwhile, seven Republicans have crowded into the GOP primary for a district that has become increasingly Republican. A Democrat, longtime U.S. Rep. John Spratt of York, last held the seat in 2011, losing his re-election bid to Mulvaney.

The last Democrat to challenge for the seat, former Vice President Joe Biden aide Fran Person, suffered a 20-point loss to Mulvaney in November. Democrats, however, hope their next 5th District candidate can harness what they see as a wave of anti-Trump energy to improve on that result.

Parnell is not politically active in Sumter but is extremely intelligent, said former Sumter Mayor Steve Creech, who lives across the street from Parnell.

Parnell went to high school in Sumter, and graduated from the University of South Carolina and its law school. He has worked as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, as senior counsel for the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, and as a tax attorney for ExxonMobil.

“He’ll be the smartest candidate,” Creech said.

Avery G. Wilks: 803-771-8362, @averygwilks