From repealing Obamacare to building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border to balancing the federal budget, five of the seven Republicans vying for the seat of former 5th District Congressman Mick Mulvaney laid out their platforms Monday night.
The Palmetto House Republican Women hosted a roundtable debate at the Cleveland Park Event Center in Spartanburg. About 80 people attended the first such gathering ahead of the May 2 primary. Across all parties, 16 people have filed, including three Democrats.
A special election will be June 20 to elect a successor to Mulvaney, who left his seat earlier this year to become President Donald Trump’s budget director.
Spartanburg and Union are among 11 counties in the 5th Congressional District.
Attending Monday night’s event were Chad Connelly, Raymond Craig, Sheri Few and state Reps. Ralph Norman and Tommy Pope. Kris Wampler and Tom Mullikin did not attend.
Karen Floyd, former S.C. GOP chairwoman, moderated the roundtable, in which each a candidate was given a question followed by the others given a chance to respond. Candidates were also given two minutes each to introduce themselves.
In many instances, candidates made a point to show support for Trump’s agenda.
“I would help Donald Trump build the country so strong nobody would dare change us again,” Norman said. “This is no time for RINO (Republican in Name Only) Republicans.”
Connelly said, “Washington is broken” and “liberalism doesn’t work.”
Pope said, “Words are cheap, I’ve proven I get things done — Trey Gowdy’s proven it, and I intend to do the same thing.”
Craig said he is the only candidate who challenged Mulvaney in last year’s primary; Few said she is “very pro-life and pro-Second Amendment” and supports Trump’s budget cutting.
On Obamacare, all said they favor repeal of the controversial health care law.
“I do support full repeal. That’s what voters asked for,” Few said.
Norman called the program “a disaster,” Craig called for a gradual repeal, and Pope and Connelly said Obamacare has become too costly for small businesses.
“Before Obamacare, this was the greatest health care system in the world,” Connelly said.
On building a wall, the candidates agreed a secure border with Mexico is important to keep out illegal immigrants. Craig added that walls must have “doors so people can enter legally.”