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S.C. House Races: A Staggering Lack Of Competition

More than half of lawmakers go unchallenged, most draw only token opposition ..

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All 124 seats in the South Carolina House of Representatives were up for grabs in 2018 … and as we have seen, voters went to the polls in record numbers to cast ballots this election cycle.

How many of these legislative races were actually competitive, though?

Yeah … only five of them.

That’s right.  Just five out of the 124 S.C. House races on this year’s ballot featured electoral outcomes in the single-digits.  By contrast, 45 races featured elections that were decided by twenty percentage points or more, while 68 races featured candidates who faced no general election opposition at all.

Does that sound like representative democracy to you? 

Because it sure doesn’t to us …

Republicans and Democrats in South Carolina continue to draw legislative districts that insulate incumbents – denying voters real choices at the ballot box.  Not surprisingly, this lack of choice leads to a lack of accountability – which leads to a lack of progress on a host of fronts.

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Of the S.C. House races that were competitive, Democrat JA Moore defeated incumbent Republican Samuel Rivers in the race for S.C. District 15 (map) in Berkeley and Charleston counties.  Meanwhile Republican Mandy Kimmons – whose candidacy was endorsed by this news outlet – defeated Democratic incumbent Patsy Knight in the race for S.C. House District 97 (map) in Colleton and Dorchester counties.

Democrats nearly scored a coup in S.C. House District 115 (map) in Charleston County, but Republican Peter McCoy – the odds-on favorite to become the next House judiciary chairman – narrowly defeated Democrat Carol Tempel.

The GOP was not so lucky in S.C. House District 117 (map), where Democratic challenger Krystle Simmons knocked off fourth-term incumbent Bill Crosby by an eight-percentage point spread.

The final S.C. House race to fall inside the ten-point “competitive” threshold?  Republican Lin Bennett’s nine-point win over Democratic challenger Dan Jones in the battle for S.C. House District 114 (map).

All 124 House members will be up for reelection in 2020 – along with all forty-six state senators.  Our hope is that those races provide much more in the way of competition.

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