He's been known as South Carolina's political comeback kid, but his luck just ran out.
In a startling upset, U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford's re-election hopes were dashed Tuesday when he narrowly lost the GOP primary for South Carolina's 1st District congressional seat to Katie Arrington, a freshman state legislator from Dorchester County.
Before the race was called Tuesday, Sanford conceded, saying he's "always been a realist" and predicted he would lose once the final vote tally was in.
Meanwhile, embattled Archie Parnell won the Democratic nomination for the 5th District, overcoming calls from his party’s leaders for him to abandon his bid after revelations surfaced that he beat his ex-wife in the 1970s.
Arrington's campaign strategy was to align herself with President Donald Trump and harp on Sanford's criticism of the president. She received a last-minute boost from Trump, who endorsed her in a tweet three hours before polls closed.
The loss is a first for Sanford in his political career. He served three terms in Congress before he was elected S.C. governor in 2002. He served two terms as the state's chief executive, and was thought to be vice-presidential material before news broke that he was having an affair with a former television reporter in Argentina and using state resources to visit her.
After his fall from grace, Sanford stunned S.C. political observers by winning a special election for the 1st District in 2013, filling the vacancy left when Tim Scott was appointed to the U.S. Senate.
Meanwhile, Joe Cunningham, a Charleston attorney, won the Democratic primary for the 1st District, advancing to the November election.
In the 2nd District, representing parts of Lexington and Richland counties, Democratic candidates Annabelle Robertson and Sean Carrigan are advancing to a runoff. The two finished first and second, respectively, in a tight race, both failing to exceed 50 percent of the vote needed to win outright.
The winner of that contest will face U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-Springdale, in November.
In a crowded race for the state's 4th District, former S.C. Sen. Lee Bright of Spartanburg appeared headed for a runoff, leading a pack of 13 Republicans vying to succeed U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, who did not seek re-election.
Trailing Bright were S.C. Sen. William Timmons, radio host Josh Kimbrell and S.C. Rep. Dan Hamilton of Taylors.
U.S. House of Representatives
Democratic primary, 287 of 353 precincts reporting
Toby Smith: 7,289
GOP primary, 287 of 353 precincts reporting
Dimitri Cherny: 1,543
Sanford (i): 24,592
Democratic primary, 293 of 298 precincts reporting
Phil Black: 5,947
Sean Carrigan: 12,750
Annabelle Robertson: 13,487
Democratic primary, 322 of 342 precincts reporting
Hosea Cleveland: 4,868
Mary Geren: 11,738
Democratic primary, 92 of 231 precincts reporting
Brandon Brown: 2,501
JT Davis: 575
Eric Graben: 2,161
Will Morin: 624
Doris Lee Turner: 2,386
GOP primary, 92 of 231 precincts reporting
(Top four out of 13 candidates)
Lee Bright: 8,190
Dan Hamilton: 3,599
Josh Kimbrell: 3,632
William Timmons: 3,788
Democratic primary, 361 of 363 precincts reporting
Mark Ali: 3,704
Steve Lough: 2,619
Sidney Moore: 4,753
Archie Parnell: 16,610
Democratic primary, 226 of 324 precincts reporting
Bruce Fischer: 2,828
Bill Hopkins: 4,636
Mal Hyman: 7,933
Robert Williams: 10,708
GOP primary, 226 of 324 precincts reporting
Larry Guy Hammond: 3,460
Tom Rice (i): 19,761
SOURCE: The Associated Press and SC Election Commission
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