A South Carolina state senator said to be contemplating a 2024 primary challenge against incumbent U.S. congressman Jeff Duncan has scheduled a big announcement for later this month. And while an invitation to the event makes no reference to a congressional campaign, the advisory could signal the beginning of a credible challenge to Duncan – who is embroiled in a sex scandal involving a Washington, D.C. lobbyist.
State senator Richard J. Cash of Piedmont, S.C. alerted followers to an event scheduled for 10:30 a.m. EST on Saturday, January 20, 2024 at Christ Church in Anderson. According to an invite obtained by this media outlet, Cash is inviting supporters to join him “in building a dedicated force of 300 Christians who believe character counts and are committed to conservative and patriotic ideals.”
The goal of the gathering is “to restore the message of Faith, Family, and Freedom in our nation’s capital” and usher in a “resurgence of courageous leadership with Christian character in Washington.”
Wait a minute … “Faith, Family and Freedom?“
Readers will recall Duncan hosts an annual gathering called the “Faith and Freedom BBQ,” which has been a top political draw ahead of the quadrennial “First in the South” presidential primary election. Last year, however, Duncan was alleged to have departed for Washington, D.C. the day after this event – at which he touted his marriage to Melody Hodges Duncan – and proceeded “directly to the home of his paramour, Liz Williams.”
Liz Williams is a Jackson, Mississippi native and former National Rifle Association (NRA) lobbyist who has allegedly been involved in multiple extramarital extracurriculars in our nation’s capital. She is now reportedly in a public relationship with Duncan, who is doing his best to put the kibosh on this scandal.
Do voters still care about affairs in 2024? Even in South Carolina?
Not necessarily … but if there is a congressional district in the state where something like this could come back to haunt a politician, Duncan is in that district.
Duncan, 57, of Greenville, S.C. was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 2011 – replacing former representative Gresham Barrett. As I have noted on multiple prior occasions, he has been a generally reliable conservative vote – as well as a pro-free market leader on energy issues. Duncan also has a boatload of cash in his reelection coffers, giving him an advantage over any prospective challenger.
Sources close to Cash have told this outlet the 63-year-old Jacksonville, Florida native would not run against Duncan unless he could be financially competitive. The fact he seems inclined to run would indicate he believes he can meet the financial burden associated with challenging an incumbent.
Assuming Cash, runs it would reprise a race from fourteen years ago.
In 2010, Cash actually defeated Duncan – then a state representative – in the initial round of GOP primary voting. Cash drew 20,923 voters (or 25.4 percent of ballots cast) compared to Duncan’s 19,051 votes (23.1 percent) in the Republican primary held on June 8, 2010. Because neither candidate won a majority of votes, though, a runoff election was held two weeks later on June 22, 2010. In that race, Duncan narrowly edged Cash – drawing 37,300 votes (51.5 percent) to Cash’s 35,129 votes (48.5 percent).
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Duncan coasted to victory that fall in this bright red district and has not been credibly challenged since. In fact, he has run unopposed in the GOP primary in the last six election cycles – and drawn only token opposition in the fall races. Last cycle, he failed to draw either a primary or general election opponent.
That was before his sex scandal made national news, however.
Cash has already called on Duncan to “repent before God, resign immediately, and make every effort to be reconciled to your wife and children.” The incumbent has made it clear he is not resigning, however.
Cash was elected to the S.C. Senate in May 2017 – winning a special election to fill the third district seat vacated by former S.C. lieutenant governor Kevin Bryant. He was reelected to a full term in 2020 and is up for reelection in 2024. For those of you wondering, Cash can campaign for the U.S. congress and for his seat in the Senate at the same time – but he would have to give up his Senate seat in the event he were elected to congress.
Cash also has the option of not running for reelection to the Senate to focus on his congressional race – again, assuming he decides to challenge Duncan.
Count on this media outlet to keep our audience apprised of the latest developments in this race – as well as the primary battle already underway in the neighboring South Carolina fourth congressional district.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.
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