STATE LAWMAKER WILL RESIGN OFFICE TO FOCUS ON CAMPAIGN …
S.C. Rep. Ralph Norman will resign his seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives to become a full-time candidate for the state’s fifth congressional district.
Norman told his colleagues at the State House he plans on submitting his resignation the moment the current occupant of this seat – U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney – resigns to become the next director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
News of Mulvaney’s appointment to this influential post by U.S. president Donald Trump was first reported here on FITSNews. Mulvaney’s confirmation process has been somewhat rocky, but Trump’s team has made it clear they will bring his nomination to the floor of the U.S. Senate – where the GOP holds a 52-48 advantage (and the tie-breaking vote in the form of U.S. vice president Mike Pence).
Norman has retained Lexington, S.C.-based political consultant Walter Whetsell to manage his campaign, we’re told.
Whetsell will have his work cut out for him as early polling shows Norman with considerable ground to make up – which is disappointing considering he previously campaigned in this district. Also, the field for this seat will be very crowded.
Former SCGOP chairman Chad Connelly is likely to run, and Indian Land, S.C. attorney Kris Wampler has already announced his intention to seek the GOP nomination – as has strident social conservative activist Sheri Few.
The wild card in this race? S.C. Speaker pro tempore Tommy Pope. The ex-solicitor – who currently holds the No. 2 leadership post in the S.C. House – had planned to run for governor of South Carolina in 2018.
(You know … before all this happened).
Early polling shows Pope would be an early favorite to win this seat – but it’s unclear whether he will take the bait.
Source familiar with Pope’s thinking tell us he is “giving (the race) strong consideration” and is likely to make a decision soon after consulting with his family and political allies.
Unlike Norman, Pope would “continue to serve” in his leadership post in the S.C. House in the event he becomes a candidate, our sources say.
Stay tuned …
We’ve been tracking this prospective field from the very beginning and look forward to keeping our readers abreast of the latest developments as it begins to crystallize.
(Banner via Travis Bell Photography)