The Buzz

Former SC GOP chairman Connelly endorses Norman in 5th District race

One of the runners-up in the 5th District’s GOP primary Monday endorsed former state Rep. Ralph Norman in next week’s runoff.

Chad Connelly, a former chairman of the S.C. Republican Party and Republican National Committee staffer, endorsed Norman in a press conference in Connelly’s home town of Newberry.

Of the two remaining Republican candidates, Norman comes closest to his views, Connelly said.

“If you have to lose, it’s best to lose to somebody who thinks like you,” Connelly said. “At debates, there was a lot of, ‘Hey, you used my line.’”

Connelly won 14 percent of the vote in last week’s GOP primary, finishing fourth. Norman and state Rep. Tommy Pope, R-York, finished in a near-tie at the top of a seven-candidate field. They now will face off in a heated runoff next Tuesday.

Connelly, who previously oversaw faith engagement for the Republican National Committee, had backing from national conservative figures — including U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, the N.C. Republican who heads the House Freedom Caucus, and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, as well as U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens.

The GOP primary’s third-place finisher, Camden businessman Tom Mullikin, has yet to endorse either Pope or Norman.