South Carolina Election Summary

November 9, 2016

Pardon Our Dust

We recently launched this new site and are still in the process of updating some of our archived content. Some details of this article may be incomplete, links may be broken, and other elements may not display properly yet. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

Reliably Red South Carolina

South Carolina did not surprise on November 8. As expected, Donald Trump took home South Carolina’s nine electoral votes, and the congressional delegation remained unchanged after a solid night for the GOP in South Carolina.

Sen. Tim Scott (R) was elected to his first full term yesterday. Sen. Scott was first appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley (R) to fill the seat held by former Sen. Jim DeMint, who resigned in 2012. He then became the first African-American senator since Reconstruction to win election in the South, when he was elected to fill the last two years of DeMint’s term in 2014.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-05), a potential 2018 Republican gubernatorial candidate, defeated former Biden aide Fran Person (D) in the only truly contested congressional race. Representatives Mark Sanford (R-01), Joe Wilson (R-02), Jeff Duncan (R-03), Trey Gowdy (R-04), Jim Clyburn (D-06) and Tom Rice (R-07) all return to the House of Representatives after commanding victories. 

The 2017-2018 session of the South Carolina legislature will welcome many new legislators to the State House in January after several retirements and incumbent upsets in the June primaries. Republicans retained their majorities in both the Senate and the House.

Notable State House Upsets

Republican primary upsets, mostly in upstate districts, were a recurring theme for the 2016 election cycle.

Sen. Larry Martin (R-Pickens, District 2) lost to former Rep. Rex Rice (R) in a primary runoff in June. Sen. Martin was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Rice, who previously served in the South Carolina House from 1995 to 2010, faced no opposition in the general election.

Sen. Mike Fair (R-Greenville, District 6) lost to William Timmons (R) in a primary runoff race. Sen. Fair was the chairman of the Senate Corrections and Penology Committee. Timmons faced only third-party opposition in November and was easily elected to his first term. A former assistant solicitor in Greenville County, Timmons now owns and operates Swamp Rabbit CrossFit. 

Sen. Wes Hayes (R-York, District 15) lost to Wes Climer (R) in a primary. Sen. Hayes was the chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee. Climer, who did not face November opposition, is a financial advisor with the Climer Group of Wells Fargo in Charlotte, N.C., and previously served as chairman of the York County Republican Party. 

The House Judiciary Committee will see at least four new members in 2017, as four House Judiciary members lost to primary challengers in June: Rep. Wendy Nanney (R-Greenville, District 22); Rep. Donna Hicks (R-Spartanburg, District 37); Rep. Doug Brannon (R-Spartanburg, District 38); and Rep. Ralph Kennedy Jr. (R-Lexington, District 39).

State House Office Upgrades

Rep. Mia McLeod (D-Richland, District 79) will assume the Richland County seat previously held by the retiring Sen. Joel Lourie (D-Richland, District 22) after defeating Susan Brill (R). Rep. McLeod represented Richland County in District 79 in the South Carolina House for six years prior to announcing her campaign for Senate.

Rep. Stephen Goldfinch (R-Georgetown, District 108) will assume the seat previously held by retiring Sen. Ray Cleary (R-Georgetown, District 34) after defeating primary opposition in June. Rep. Goldfinch served in the South Carolina House for four years, where he served on the Judiciary Committee.  

True House Rookies

Three representatives-elect in 2016 are under the age of 24:

  • Steven Long (R-Spartanburg) in Rep. Hicks’ District 37
  • Josiah Magnuson (R-Spartanburg) in Rep. Brannon’s District 38
  • Brandon Newton (R), who defeated Tyler Mitchell (D), 23, to win the seat of Rep. Deborah Long (R-Lancaster, District 45), who did not seek reelection

Long, 22, is a licensed insurance agent and realtor in the upstate. Magnuson, 24, works in the solar industry, and Newton, 22, is the manager of student life at USC-Lancaster.

Please contact any member of the McGuireWoods Consulting South Carolina Team if you would like more detailed information about election results or any other policy issues in South Carolina.

Governor Jim Hodges, Senior Advisor

Robert Adams, Senior Vice President

William D. Boan, Senior Vice President

Amber S. Barnes, Vice President

Brian P. Flynn, Vice President

Kayleigh E. Hall, Assistant Vice President

Robin T. Crawford, Research Assistant