Tagsouth carolina

Stories about South Carolina

All candidates for South Carolina House of Representatives District 85 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for South Carolina House of Representatives District 85 —Jay Kilmartin (R) and John Davis (L) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Republican Party controls both chambers of South Carolina’s state legislature. South Carolina is one of 23 states with a Republican trifecta.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?            

Kilmartin:               

“I am 100% pro-life. With Roe v. Wade poised to be overturned, there is no reason that South Carolina shouldn’t outlaw abortion immediately. In 2020, I spoke on the state house steps to end the lockdowns. Our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness doesn’t end due to a pandemic. Citizens including students should never be forced to wear masks. I believe in healthcare freedom. Nobody should be forced to take a vaccine to make a living and go about their every day lives.”

Davis:           

“One of the primary points of my campaign is the legalization of marijuana. First off, there is a growing body of research that shows medical use of marijuana has a profound beneficial effect on the lives of those suffering from a variety of illnesses. Far too many people would benefit from medical marijuana, whether it’s to help a veteran through PTSD or depression, a young child reduce the number and frequency of seizures, or to help cancer patients with their post Chemo nausea, there’s proof that allowing marijuana use for medicinal purposes would be a major benefit to our communities.”

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:



All candidates for South Carolina House of Representatives District 66 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for South Carolina House of Representatives District 66 —Carla Litrenta (D) and David O’Neal (R) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Republican Party controls both chambers of South Carolina’s state legislature. South Carolina is one of 23 states with a Republican trifecta.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?            

Litrenta:               

  • “Our Economy – preserving and protecting our economy to ensure prosperity for our district, county, and State. Enacting legislation that helps keep small businesses open and allows families to succeed.”
  • “Our Safety – protecting our community members and children. Enacting legislation that helps support law enforcement and allows for gun sense laws.”
  • “Our Future – funding our school systems and supporting our educators. Enacting legislation that supports our school systems and helps retain the teachers and educators.”

O’Neal:           

  • “While our community continues to grow, it is important that public safety remains a top priority. During my time as Mayor of Tega Cay, I was a strong supporter and advocate of our law enforcement.”
  • “Our students are our greatest assets, and our schools are the foremost fountain of knowledge children are exposed to.” 
  • “For every $1 of gas taxes York County sends to Columbia we get 56 cents in return! I will work with SCDOT and York County to ensure ample funding is available to address our regional and local road issues.”

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:



Gov. Henry McMaster sues Occupational Safety and Health Administration over increase of civil penalties in state plans

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster (R) filed a lawsuit on August 8, 2022, in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina that aimed to block the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) attempt to increase civil penalties against employers in state plans. OSHA announced a proposal in April 2022 to compel the Arizona State Plan to enforce policies and penalties that were as effective as the federal policies established by OSHA. The lawsuit aims to protect South Carolina against similar action. 

Gov. McMaster argued that OSHA’s proposed rule exceeded statutory authority and violated the Administrative Procedure Act by failing to provide an opportunity for public notice and comment. He also contended that requiring a change to state law based on federal regulations would infringe on the state’s sovereignty. The governor filed a motion for a preliminary injunction and requested the defendants be enjoined from requiring the South Carolina State Plan to enforce civil penalties equivalent to the federal penalties. 

Gov. McMaster posited, “This attempt to unlawfully demand the state plan change the civil penalties sets a dangerous precedent not just for South Carolina, but for every other state managing its own plan. This is yet another example of federal bureaucrats – rather than elected officials – trying to make law outside of the constitutional process. We will do everything in our power to protect South Carolinians from this kind of overreach.”

OSHA and the Department of Labor had not issued a response to the lawsuit as of August 12, 2022. 

Additional reading:



Nancy Mace defeats Katie Arrington in the Republican primary for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District on June 14, 2022

Incumbent Nancy Mace (R) defeated Katie Arrington (R) in the Republican primary for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District on June 14, 2022, winning about 53% of the vote.

Arrington won the district’s Republican primary in 2018, defeating then-incumbent and former governor Mark Sanford (R) before losing the general election to Joe Cunningham (D). Cunningham was the first Democratic U.S. House candidate to win election in the district since 1978. Mace defeated Cunningham in 2020 and said she is better-positioned to win the general election. Former President Donald Trump (R) opposed Mace after she voted to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. His endorsement of Arrington focused national media attention on the race.

Mace represented South Carolina’s 99th House District from 2018 to 2020. Her campaign focused on electability. Mace said, “It’s the 10th fastest growing congressional district in the country…That makes the dynamics a lot different. You’ve got to be able to win your primary but you also have to be able to win a general election…Nancy Pelosi would love nothing more than to win it back.” Mace was endorsed by former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley (R), former White House chief of staff and U.S. representative from South Carolina Mick Mulvaney (R), U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R), and others.

Arrington served as an information security officer in the U.S. Department of Defense during the Trump Administration. She also represented South Carolina’s 94th House District from 2016 to 2018. Arrington’s campaign focused on positioning her as the true conservative in the race. Arrington said, “Nancy Mace, she’s not a conservative…[she] turned her back on us, and she turned her back on President Trump.” Arrington also said that Mace, “read the room wrong; she thought this district was a moderate district, and we are not. We are conservative.” In addition to Trump, former candidate Lynz Piper-Loomis (R) withdrew from the primary and endorsed Arrington during a debate on May 20, 2022.

Arrington criticized Mace’s effort to enact federal marijuana legislation, saying, “That’s not what conservatives are concerned about right now…We’re concerned about the economy, we’re concerned about our children and we’re concerned about national security.” Arrington also criticized Mace’s stance on abortion, tweeting, “Abortion is murder. Anyone in favor of exceptions, Nancy Mace included, are complicit in the systematic killing of millions of unborn babies. I am 100% pro-life with no exceptions.” Mace stated publicly that she was a rape victim and has advocated for federal exceptions to abortion bans in cases of rape or incest.

Mace’s response to Arrington’s criticisms was twofold. She spoke about her conservative voting record in Congress and highlighted her scorecard from the conservative nonprofit The Heritage Foundation. Additionally, she spoke about working with Democrats to pass legislation and said the district was independent. Mace said, “This district is different…I don’t think it’s like the rest of the country. We march to the beat of our own drum. We want someone who’s going to be an independent voice.”

Analysts described this [primary] as a bellwether for Trump’s influence. As political science professor Gibbs Knotts said, “This is the type of district that’s going to decide who controls the House.” Before the primary, the Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections all rated South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District as a solid/safe Republican seat. This means that Nancy Mace, as winner of the Republican primary, is also likely to win the general election.



South Carolina Legislature refers two constitutional amendments to the 2022 ballot to increase General Reserve and Capital Reserve Funds

South Carolina voters will decide on two constitutional amendments in 2022. One of the amendments would increase the General Reserve Fund from 5% of state general fund revenue to 7%. The increase would be 0.5% percentage points each year until reaching 7%.

The state’s General Reserve Fund can be used to cover year-end operating deficits. If funds are used, the General Reserve Fund must be restored to the constitutionally mandated full amount within five years, with a minimum of 1% added back to the fund each year.

The other amendment would increase the Capital Reserve Fund from 2% to 3% of state general fund revenue and provide that the first use of the Capital Reserve Fund is to offset midyear budget reductions. Funds from the Capital Reserve Fund can be used to cover year-end operating deficits. The Capital Reserve Fund must be used to cover year-end deficits before the General Reserve Fund. If there is no year-end operating deficit and the General Reserve Fund is fully funded at the amount required by the state constitution (currently 5% of state general fund revenue), money in the the Capital Reserve Fund can be appropriated through a two-thirds (66.67%) supermajority vote of legislators for certain purposes. These purposes include:

  • to fund authorized capital improvement bond projects;
  • to retire the interest or principal on past bonds; or
  • for capital improvements or other nonrecurring purposes.

Money not appropriated from the Capital Reserve Fund are returned to the state general fund at the end of a fiscal year.

To put these legislatively referred constitutional amendments before voters, a two-thirds (66.67%) supermajority vote was required in both the South Carolina State Senate and the South Carolina House of Representatives.

The measures were referred to the ballot through Senate Joint Resolution 1106. SJR 1106 was approved in the Senate on March 17, 2022, by a 43-0 vote. On May 4, 2022, the House amended the proposal and unanimously approved it, sending it back to the Senate. The Senate concurred with the House’s amendments on June 15, 2022, by a 40-1 vote.

In South Carolina, a total of 54 ballot measures appeared on the statewide ballot between 1985 and 2018. Forty-five ballot measures were approved and 9 ballot measures were defeated.

Additional reading:



Russell Fry defeats Rep. Tom Rice and five others in SC-7 Republican primary

Russell Fry defeated six other candidates in the Republican primary election for South Carolina’s 7th Congressional District on June 14, 2022. The two candidates who received the most media attention were incumbent Tom Rice and Fry. Rice is the sixth U.S. House incumbent this cycle to lose re-election this cycle.

Rice was first elected to the U.S. House in 2012 and had represented the district since it was created following the 2010 census. Rice was one of 10 Republican members of the U.S. House who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump (R) in 2021, which he had defended during his primary campaign. During a June 5 appearance on ABC’s This Week, Rice said, “Defending the Constitution is a bedrock of the Republican platform, defend the Constitution, and that’s what I did. That was the conservative vote. There’s no question in my mind.” In response to the impeachment vote, the Republican Party of South Carolina censured Rice.

Fry was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2015. Trump endorsed Fry in February 2021. Fry had called Rice a RINO (Republican in Name Only) over his impeachment vote. Following Trump’s endorsement, Fry said, “Radical Leftists, enabled by RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) like Tom Rice, are trying to erase President Trump’s legacy and move America towards socialism. We can’t let that happen.”



Mace faces Arrington in Republican primary for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District on June 14, 2022

Incumbent Nancy Mace (R) and Katie Arrington (R) are running in the Republican primary for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District on June 14, 2022.

Arrington won the district’s Republican primary in 2018, defeating incumbent and former governor Mark Sanford (R) before losing the general election to Joe Cunningham (D). Cunningham was the first Democratic U.S. House candidate to win election in the district since 1978. Mace defeated Cunningham in 2020 and says she is best-positioned to win the general election. However, former President Donald Trump (R) is targeting Mace (along with several other congressional Republicans) for voting to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. His endorsement of Arrington has focused national media attention on the race.

Mace represented South Carolina’s 99th House District from 2018 to 2020. Her campaign has focused on electability. Mace said, “It’s the 10th fastest growing congressional district in the country…That makes the dynamics a lot different. You’ve got to be able to win your primary but you also have to be able to win a general election…Nancy Pelosi would love nothing more than to win it back.” Mace has been endorsed by former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley (R), former White House chief of staff and U.S. House member from South Carolina Mick Mulvaney (R), U.S. House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R), and others.

Arrington served as an information security officer in the U.S. Department of Defense during the Trump Administration. She also represented South Carolina’s 94th House District from 2016 to 2018. Arrington’s campaign has focused on positioning her as the true conservative in the race. Arrington said, “Nancy Mace, she’s not a conservative…[she] turned her back on us, and she turned her back on President Trump.” Arrington also said that Mace, “read the room wrong; she thought this district was a moderate district, and we are not. We are conservative.” In addition to Trump’s endorsement, Arrington has been endorsed by Lynz Piper-Loomis (R), a former candidate in this primary who withdrew from the race and endorsed Arrington during an official debate on May 20, 2022, and others.

Arrington has criticized Mace’s effort to enact federal marijuana legislation, saying, “That’s not what conservatives are concerned about right now…We’re concerned about the economy, we’re concerned about our children and we’re concerned about national security.” Arrington has also criticized Mace’s stance on abortion, tweeting, “Abortion is murder. Anyone in favor of exceptions, Nancy Mace included, are complicit in the systematic killing of millions of unborn babies. I am 100% pro-life with no exceptions.” Mace has stated publicly that she is a rape victim and has advocated for federal exceptions to abortion bans in cases of rape or incest.

Mace’s response to the criticism from her opponent has been twofold. She says she has a conservative voting record in Congress and highlights her scorecard from the conservative nonprofit The Heritage Foundation. Additionally, she says she has worked with Democrats to pass legislation and tried to explain the district’s independence. Mace said, “This district is different…I don’t think it’s like the rest of the country. We march to the beat of our own drum. We want someone who’s going to be an independent voice.”

Analysts have described this primary race as a bellwether for Trump’s influence. As political science professor Gibbs Knotts explained, “This is the type of district that’s going to decide who controls the House.” Before the primary, the Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections all rated South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District as a solid/safe Republican seat. This means that the winner of the Republican primary is also likely to win the general election.



South Carolina governor signs bill barring transgender youth from participating in public school and collegiate women’s sports

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) signed a bill into law on May 16, 2022, that prohibits transgender students from participating in women’s sports at public schools and colleges in the state. The new law requires students to play on sports teams that match the gender assigned on their birth certificates. The South Carolina House of Representatives passed House Bill 4608 by a vote of 70 to 33. 

Earlier this month, McMaster said, “I think the girls ought to play girls and the boys ought to play boys. That’s the way we’ve always done it.” Supporters of H.B. 4608 argue transgender girls would have an unfair advantage on women’s sports teams. They suggest transgender athletes could soon make up the majority of athletes receiving podium spots and awards.

Ivy Hill, Executive Director of Gender Benders and the Community Health Program Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, told NPR, “Transgender youth are not a threat to fairness in sports, and this law now needlessly stigmatizes young people who are simply trying to navigate their adolescence, make friends, and build skills like teamwork and leadership, winning and losing.”

Additional reading:



South Carolina House has its most contested primaries since 2014

The number of contested primaries in the South Carolina House of Representatives rose to 48 this year, the most since 2014. With 124 House districts holding elections, this represents 19% of the 248 possible primaries in the chamber.

Of those 44 contested primaries, 12 include Democrats and 36 include Republicans. For Democrats, this is down from 17 in 2020, a 29% decrease. For Republicans, the number increased 50% from 24 in the previous cycle.

Ten of the contested primaries are taking place in open districts where no incumbents filed to run. The remaining 34 contested primaries include incumbents: 11 Democrats and 23 Republicans. That equals 30.6% of incumbents who filed for re-election, the largest percentage since 2018 in the chamber.

The filing deadline for candidates running for the state House in South Carolina this year was March 30. Candidates filed to run for all of the state’s 124 House districts. The 46 Senate districts are not up for election this year. Senators serve four-year terms and face re-election during presidential election cycles.

Overall, 243 major party candidates filed: 85 Democrats and 158 Republicans.

South Carolina has been a Republican trifecta since the party won control of the governorship in 2002. Republicans currently hold an 80-43 majority in the House and a 30-16 majority in the Senate.

South Carolina’s primaries are scheduled for June 14.

Additional reading:



Tom Rice’s impeachment vote draws Trump-endorsed primary challenger

Seven candidates are running in the Republican primary for South Carolina’s 7th Congressional District on June 14, 2022. Incumbent Tom Rice and Russell Fry and received the most media attention.

Rice, first elected to the U.S. House in 2012, was one of 10 Republican members of the U.S. House who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump (R) in 2021. The Republican Party of South Carolina censured Rice after his vote. In Feb. 2022, Rice told NPR that he stood by his impeachment vote. “And I guess if the consequences are that the people think what happened is OK, then I guess, you know, I’m not that guy,” Rice said.

Jerry Rovner, the Republican chair of District 7, told NPR that the vote could cost Rice his seat. Rovner said, “That is one of the vulnerabilities of Tom Rice. Nobody would have thought of doing that. I mean, Tom could have been in that seat forever.”

Trump endorsed Fry on Feb. 1, 2022, who was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2015. In his endorsement, Trump said, “Congressman Tom Rice of South Carolina, the coward who abandoned his constituents by caving to Nancy Pelosi and the Radical Left, and who actually voted against me on Impeachment Hoax #2, must be thrown out of office ASAP.”

Fry responded to Trump’s endorsement, saying, “Radical Leftists, enabled by RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) like Tom Rice, are trying to erase President Trump’s legacy and move America towards socialism. We can’t let that happen.”

Rice also responded to Trump’s endorsement. “I’m all about Trump’s policy. But absolute pledge of loyalty, to a man that is willing to sack the Capitol to keep his hold on power is more than I can stomach,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) endorsed Rice. In addition to Trump, eight members of the South Carolina House of Representatives and MyPillow founder Mike Lindell endorsed Fry.

Also running in the primary are Barbara Arthur, Garrett Barton, Mark McBride, Spencer Morris, and Ken Richardson.