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2018 Election Night Live Blog

Results, analysis, reactions …

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Welcome to our 2018 election night blog …

We don’t expect much nail-biting coming out of the staunchly GOP Palmetto State tonight – which seems poised for a Republican rout – but there are several races we are paying close attention to this evening as voters deliver their verdict(s).  And of course we are keeping a close eye on the national scene to see if the U.S. House goes over to the Democrats – which could have very real ramifications for one particular Palmetto politico.

Here are the races we are watching.  Below these results?  What you came here for: The blog …

So be sure to scroll down …

U.S. House

DEMOCRATIC (Margin: TBD)

U.S. Senate

REPUBLICAN (Margin: TBD)

S.C. Governor

Henry McMaster/ Pamela Evette – 54.3 percent (901,897 votes) *WINNER
James Smith/ Mandy Powers Norrell – 45.7 percent (758,993 votes)

(100 percent reporting)

S.C. First Congressional District

Katie Arrington – 49.3 percent (132,301 votes)
Joe Cunningham – 50.7 percent (135,810 votes) *WINNER

(100 percent reporting)

S.C. Fifth Congressional District

Ralph Norman – 57.2 percent (134,998 votes) *WINNER
Archie Parnell – 41.4 percent (97,820 votes)

(96 percent reporting)

S.C. Attorney General

Alan Wilson – 55.5 percent (922,119 votes) *WINNER
Constance Anastopoulo – 44.5 percent (740,076 votes)

(100 percent reporting)

Ballot Question: S.C. Superintendent

YES – 41.5 percent (643,788 votes)
NO – 58.5 percent (908,002 votes) *WINNER

(81 percent reporting)

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THE LIVE BLOG

(Hit us up via email, twitter)

***

10:19 p.m. EST – MITT ROMNEY IS BACK …

(Click to view)

(Via: Romney for Utah)

One of the fiercest GOP critics of U.S. president Donald Trump has just been elected to the U.S. Senate from the state of Utah.

Mitt Romney, who happens to be among this news outlet’s all-time least-favorite politicians, was the leader of the establishment “Republican” attack against Trump during the 2016 election.

“Here’s what I know: Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud,” the 2012 GOP presidential nominee said. “His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.  He’s playing members of the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat.”

“Dishonesty is Donald Trump’s hallmark,” Romney added.

Trump responded by calling Romney a “failed candidate” who “choked like a dog” in the 2012 race.

Can’t wait to see how these two get along in Washington, D.C.

***

9:50 p.m. EST – #RACECALL: “NO” ON CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

We editorialized in favor of a “yes” vote on the lone constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot – which would have allowed future South Carolina governors to appoint the office of superintendent of education rather than have it continue to be independently elected.

This measure is going down in defeat, though, handily …

Is it a big loss?  Not really … as we pointed out in our editorial, “while we hope this long-overdue structural reform passes … real advances in academic achievement will never be achieved unless our state’s leaders decide to stop paying lip service to market-based education reforms and start actually implementing them.”

***

9:50 p.m. EST – #RACECALL: WALT WILKINS …

(Click to view)

(Via: Provided)

It has not been a good week for S.C. thirteenth circuit solicitor Walt Wilkins.  The veteran prosecutor has had to defend himself against allegations that he improperly obtained a firearm from former Greenville County, S.C. sheriff Steve Loftis – a gun which was wanted in connection with a pending criminal investigation.

Wilkins’ bizarre “Sig Sauer Saga” isn’t over, either … but his election against petition candidate Lucas Marchant is in the books.

Wilkins handily defeated Marchant in this race, earning a third term in office and keeping his future statewide ambitions alive.

***

9:27 p.m. EST – THE FIRST DISTRICT “PRE-PRIMARY …”

One of the hottest rumors going around the South Carolina Lowcountry over the last few weeks was that several prominent Republicans in the first congressional district were working behind the scenes to scuttle Katie Arrington, the GOP nominee in this nip-and-tuck battleground race.

One Republican who made no secret of his disdain for Arrington?  Mark Sanford, the incumbent congressman she vanquished in the GOP primary back in June.

Sanford ripped Arrington in several interviews, calling her a liar.  He was even close to endorsing Cunningham, we’re told, until he was talked out of it at the last moment.

Like a bad penny, Sanford just keeps turning up … but he apparently wasn’t the only working behind the scenes against Arrington.

What motivated this “Republican-on-Republican” intriguing?  Easy …

This is a GOP seat, and if Arrington were to have lost in a “blue wave” election then the Democrat – Joe Cunningham – would be a prime target in 2020.

As of this writing, the race remains too close to call but Arrington is up in the early returns …

***

9:01 p.m. EST – #RACECALL: RALPH NORMAN …

(Click to view)

(Via: Provided)

If Democrats wind up falling short of their goal of taking back the U.S. House, this will be one of the races that haunts them.  Norman narrowly captured this seat in a 2017 special election and seemed ripe for the taking – especially in a “wave” election.

Luckily for the GOP, the candidacy of his opponent – Archie Parnell – imploded earlier this year when a decades-old domestic violence incident involving his first wife became national news.

This race was not competitive, but it should have been …

***

8:50 p.m. EST – HAS ROBERT CAHALY DONE IT AGAIN?

It is too early to call the races in Florida, but it appears as though Atlanta, Georgia-based pollster Robert Cahaly is on the verge of proving the “experts” wrong once again in both the contested governors’ and U.S. Senate races in the Sunshine State.

Cahaly was the only pollster to predict GOP gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis would defeat Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum.  He was also one of only two pollsters to predict GOP Senate candidate Rick Scott would defeat Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson.

Those races have yet to be called, but Cahaly’s “outlier” predictions are looking better and better as the night wears on …

***

8:46 p.m. EST – #RACECALL: ALAN WILSON …

As we noted earlier tonight, this outcome would have been unthinkable two years ago, when Wilson’s political career was at its nadir.

***

8:41 p.m. EST – #RACECALL: HENRY McMASTER …

South Carolina’s incumbent Republican – who inherited his job thanks to U.S. president Donald Trump (and kept it thanks to Trump) – won a full four-year term in office on Tuesday evening, easily outdistancing Democrat James Smith.

***

7:57 p.m. EST – LIBERAL REPUBLICAN GETS RUN OVER IN VIRGINIA …

(Click to view)

(Via: U.S. House)

A lot of Republicans in “swing districts” seem to think if they behave/ vote like Democrats, they won’t get voted out of office.  Oops.

Barbara Comstock of Virginia – who was backed in 2016 by former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley – was the first Republican in Washington, D.C. to oppose U.S. president Donald Trump’s proposed Washington, D.C. hiring freeze.  She also joined Democrats in holding GOP spending cuts hostage.

How did they repay her?  By running an even more liberal candidate against her … and running her out of office.

***

7:25 p.m. EST – THAT WAS FAST … HENRY McMASTER WON

(Click to view)

(Via: S.C. Governor)

Polls had been closed in South Carolina for precisely seven minutes when both Fox News and CNN  – whose pundits rarely agree on anything except raising the decibel level of America’s political debate – called the Palmetto State’s top-of-the-ticket race for incumbent Republican Henry McMaster.

Thanks for showing up, everybody …

Do we dispute the call?  No.  Not all all.  We predicted (scroll down) a McMaster romp.  But seven minutes in?  Really? 

***

7:20 p.m. EST – PAGING CAPTAIN OBVIOUS … TRUMP IMPACTED MIDTERMS

(Click to view)

(Via: The White House)

Prepare to be shocked, but U.S. president Donald Trump – whose name is nowhere on the ballot tonight – played a “major factor” in the 2018 election cycle.  We know … we could scarcely believe it ourselves …

From CBS …

Early exit poll results suggest that President Donald Trump was a factor that significantly affected voting for the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections. Nearly two-thirds of those voters said Mr. Trump was a factor. One quarter of those casting a House ballot said they did so in part to support him. Four in 10 said they cast a vote to oppose him. Only one-third said he played no role in their voting.

Go figure, right?

***

7:07 p.m. EST – ENDORSEMENTS …

This news outlet declined to endorse in any of the contested races above (with the exception of the constitutional ballot question).  We did, however, write often and favorably in support of GOP nominee Katie Arrington’s bid for the first congressional district.

As for incumbent Republican governor Henry McMaster, there was simply no way we could endorse his candidacy …

Certain ratings aside, he is simply far too close to being a Democrat on the fiscal issues that matter most to us.

***

7:00 p.m. EST – POLLS CLOSED …

(Click to view)

(Via: Getty Images)

Polls are officially closed in South Carolina.  Unless you are in line to vote, the 2018 election is now a historical fact.

***

6:45 p.m. EST – IN LINE? YOU GET TO VOTE …

With just fifteen minutes before polls close, it is important to remind our readers that if you are in line to vote at 7:00 p.m., you get to cast your ballot.  Anybody tells you differently, contact SCVotes.org.

***

6:22 p.m. EST – WHATEVER GETS YOU TO THE POLLS …

(Click to view)

(Via Travis Bell Photography)

So our founding editor just received an interesting text message received from one of our readers explaining why they voted for James Smith and Mandy Powers Norrell

I stood firm and voted for Smith. Democrats couldn’t screw this state up much more than SCGOP has the past 20+ years.

Plus the hot pic you posted of his running mate helped. ;) Enjoy return night …

We agree … on both counts!

Republicans have indeed screwed the ever-living pooch out of the Palmetto State in the sixteen years they have had unified control of government.  Unfortunately for Democrats, no alternative to the aforementioned pooch-screwing has been provided.

***

6:09 p.m. EST – MIDTERM HISTORY …

(Click to view)

(Via: YouTube)

We stumbled upon a fascinating read from The Daily Signal, mouthpiece of the neoconservative Heritage Foundation.  Not normally our favorite outlet, this was interesting …

“Since 1862, the president’s party on average loses 32 House seats and more than two Senate seats in a midterm … and in the 47 midterms since 1826, the president’s party lost seats in 41 of them.”

Only three times in the past 100 years has the party that won the White House in one election cycle picked up seats in the following midterm election: 1934, 1998 and 2002.

History is not on the side of the Republicans, tonight …

***

5:55 p.m. EST – YES, YOU CAN CALL IT A COMEBACK

Barring a meteor strike, S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson is going to win a third term in office this evening.  That outcome is absolutely shocking when you considering where Wilson was two years ago … dead in the water.

How did he recover from the extensive damage done to his political career during the #ProbeGate investigation?  We recall how in this post …

Wilson won’t have long to rest on his laurels, though.  As we exclusively reported over the weekend, a major investigation request is headed his way … presenting him with a challenge as well as an opportunity.

How will he handle the case?  Stay tuned …

***

5:45 p.m. EST – MRS. MCGILL VOTED …

The next great reality television series, as far as we are concerned, is #TheMcGills.  Seriously.  Southern Charm has nothing on this drama.  One reason?  The lovely Jenny McGill …

(Click to view)

(Via: Provided)

We wonder … is she trying to tell us something with the blue dress?

Or is the secret in the red soles?

***

5:41 p.m. EST – GREENVILLE SURPRISE?

There’s a palpable buzz in the South Carolina Upstate this afternoon over a solicitor’s race that drew statewide attention late last week.

“Dems are on cloud nine here,” one local political operative told us.

According to our source, there has been “heavy turnout in city boxes” in Greenville, which means petition candidate Lucas Marchant could be coming closer than anyone expected to knocking off incumbent Walt Wilkins.

We still think Wilkins will take this race but … interesting anecdotal reports …

***

5:30 p.m. EST – SHAMELESS PLUG FOR PALMETTO WIRE …

Seriously … if you haven’t visited our new aggregator website, you are missing out …

PalmettoWire.com is where it’s at, people …

***

5:24 p.m. EST“IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID.”

Got an interesting text from a reader speculating that Donald Trump missed the mark following the “Kavanaugh Kerfuffle” – focusing too much on hot-button issues as opposed to the strength of the economy …

I think DJT should stayed more on economy during last few weeks. Kavanaugh stuff had the base ginned up enuf. I don’t think the extra red meat was needed for his side, and may have put more energy to the other. Your thoughts?

Funny … we got a similar message recently from one of our many White House sources …

Guess we will find out soon!

***

5:18 p.m. ESTPREDICTIONS

Final predictions from our founding editor Will Folks

I could be way off here but my guess is Democrats take the U.S. House by a five-seat margin.  Republicans add two seats in the U.S. Senate.  Republicans gain one seat in the S.C. House.  Henry McMaster and Pamela Evette defeat James Smith and Mandy Powers Norrell by a 56-43 percent margin, while Katie Arrington edges Joe Cunningham in a photo finish in the first congressional district.  In the fifth district, I like Ralph Norman by six percentage points and in the attorney general’s race I’ve got Alan Wilson winning by a similar margin as McMaster at the top of the ticket.  Let’s say 55-44 on that contest.

5:11 p.m. EST – Testing, testing … 1, 2, 3 … is this thing on? 

***

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