Politics & Government

SC Democrats see hope in close Kansas race

Archie Parnell
Archie Parnell

After Kansas Democrats came close Tuesday to winning a special election in an otherwise solidly conservative U.S. House district, their S.C. counterparts are hopeful they can pull off an upset in the Palmetto State’s 5th District.

In a campaign email, Archie Parnell, one of three Democrats running for the 5th District seat, highlighted the results of the race in Kansas’s 4th District, where the GOP candidate defeated his Democratic opponent by seven percentage points.

In November, Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, who resigned to become President Donald Trump’s CIA director, carried the district by 31 points.

In an email, Parnell’s campaign said that 31- to 7- point swing shows “there is a major opportunity for Democrats to pick up seats” in the 5th District, and in special elections in Georgia and Montana.

The Parnell campaign notes the 5th District seat was held by Democrat John Spratt as recently as 2010 and has the largest African-American population of any open House seat. The November presidential results also were closer in the 5th District race than in the Kansas’ 4th – Trump carried it by 18 percentage points versus 27 percent in Pompeo’s old seat.

Other Democrats also heralded the Kansas results.

S.C. Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison tweeted “we can #FlipSC5 with your support” and called on the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to support the Democratic nominee in the race, support that was largely absent in Kansas.

Three Democrats – Parnell, Alexis Frank and Les Murphy – are running in their party’s May 2 primary. The winner will face the Republican nominee in the June 20 general election.

Four-term U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-Indian Land, resigned the 5th District seat in February to become Trump’s budget director. Mulvaney won re-election by a comfortable 20 points over Democrat Fran Person in November.