Returns remain incomplete as of this writing, but all signs appear to point to a strong 2020 General Election for Republicans in South Carolina.
For the United States Senate, after $200 million spent combined, Senator Lindsey Graham kept his seat, remarkably within a point or so of his 2014 margin against an underfunded opponent (about 56%).
In the $10 million race for Congress, Nancy Mace redeemed the First Congressional District seat for Republicans. All other incumbents in the Congressional delegation won, leaving only the Sixth District in Democrat hands. Senator Tim Scott’s seat will not be up for election until 2022.
In the South Carolina Senate, where Republicans held a 27-19 edge going in, the party made gains. All four Democrat-targeted Lowcountry Senate seats remained in GOP hands: Senate District 37 (Republican incumbent Larry Grooms defeated Democrat Kathryn Whitaker), Senate District 41 (Republican incumbent Sandy Senn defeated Democrat Sam Skardon), Senate District 43 (Republican incumbent Chip Campsen defeated Democrat Richard Hricik), and Senate District 44 (an open seat that saw Republican Brian Adams defeat Democrat Debbie Bryant).
The GOP made at least three other gains: in Senate District 10 Republican Billy Garrett unseated incumbent Democrat Floyd Nicholson and in Senate District 11 Republican Josh Kimbrell took out incumbent Democrat Glenn Reese. Republican Penry Gustafson also defeated Democrat Senator and former candidate for Governor Vincent Sheheen in Senate District 27.
The previous 27-19 edge in the SC Senate appears to be 30-16 as of this writing, a new high-water mark for the GOP in the Upper Chamber.
In the House of Representatives, Republicans held a 79-45 advantage, but made several gains in 2020.
In House District 44 Republican Sandy McGarry upended 2018 Democratic Lieutenant Governor nominee and State Representative Mandy Powers Norrell and in House District 52 Republican Vic Dabney defeated State Representative Laurie Slade Funderburk.
By protecting their incumbents, the Republican margin in the House is looking like a +3, now at 82-42.
As we predicted, frustration with limited school options seems to have affected races for School Board. In the state’s largest school district, Greenville, half of the seats were up for election in 2020. Two board members retired, and two did not finish in the top spot of a multi-candidate race. One board member as unopposed, and one finished first.
More to come!