Republicans in South Carolina’s 5th District already were expecting a crowded primary contest in the special election to replace Mick Mulvaney in Congress. But now Democrats will have to choose a nominee in a May 2 primary as well.
Alexis Frank of Rock Hill is the second Democrat to file in the special election. Sumter’s Archie Parnell formally kicked off his campaign earlier this week.
The two have very different backgrounds. Parnell is a 66-year-old former senior adviser at Goldman Sachs. Frank, 26, is a student and Army veteran.
Frank, a Hartsville native and daughter of a teacher, says she will focus on improving education standards in her campaign.
“I’ve always felt South Carolina’s education system needs to improve,” she said. “Only 21 percent of people in the district are college-educated. How can we better prepare kids for college? ... We have to provide better education.”
Frank added she has serious concerns about Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump’s education secretary who lacks a public education background, and champions charter schools and private education vouchers. Those options aren’t feasible for “a bright student on a Clover farm,” Frank said.
“In this district, there’s just a lot of rural areas,” she said.
Frank also says she will bring a veteran’s perspective to the race. She joined the Army after graduating from Rock Hill High School and was on active duty for six years, working as a paralegal in an Army JAG legal affairs office. A biracial candidate, Frank also hopes to be able to speak to white and black voters.
Frank now is pursuing an online graduate certificate from Southern New Hampshire University while caring for two small children. Her husband, who she met in the military, is an active-duty Marine.