South Carolina sees the highest number of contested Republican primaries since at least 2012

The filing deadline for candidates running for Congress in South Carolina this year was March 30, 2022. Twenty-eight candidates are running for South Carolina’s seven U.S. House districts, including nine Democrats and 19 Republicans. That’s four candidates per district, more than the 2.86 candidates per district in 2020 and less than the 6.14 in 2018. 

Here are some other highlights from this year’s filings:

  • This is the first election to take place under new district lines following the 2020 census. South Carolina was apportioned seven districts, the same number it was apportioned after the 2010 census.
  • All incumbents are running for re-election, meaning there are no open seats this year. The only years to feature open seats between 2012 and 2022 were 2018, when the 4th district was open, and 2012, when the newly-drawn 7th district was open. 
  • There are two contested Democratic primaries this year, the lowest number since 2016, and four contested Republican primaries, the highest number since at least 2012.
  • Eight candidates — one Democrat and seven Republicans, including incumbent Rep. Tom Rice (R) — filed to run in the 7th district, more than in any other. That’s three less than the highest number of candidates who ran for a seat in 2020, when five candidates ran in the 1st district. 
  • There are three districts — the 2nd, the 3rd, and the 5th — where incumbents do not face primary challengers. 
  • One district — the 3rd — is guaranteed to Republicans because no Democrats filed. No districts are guaranteed to Democrats because no Republicans filed.

South Carolina and three other states — Maine, Nevada, and North Dakota — are holding primary elections on June 14. A primary candidate must win a majority of the vote in order to be declared the winner in South Carolina. If no candidate wins a majority of the vote, the top two finishers will advance to a June 28 runoff.

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