U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney was leading in his quest for a second term representing South Carolina’s District 5 with a comfortable lead over first-time candidate Joyce Knott.
Mulvaney, a Republican from Indian Land, clashed with Knott, a Democrat who had campaigned for former Congressman John Spratt, over the economy and the deficit. He had more than 55 percent of the vote with five of 11 counties reporting results.
Mulvaney had served one term in the S.C. House and one in the state Senate before defeating 28-year incumbent Spratt in 2010. During the campaign he said he believed his constituents supported him despite low confidence ratings for Congress in general.
Mulvaney blamed gridlock partly on the “mixed messages” voters sent in sending “one of the most liberal men to the White House” in 2008, then sending “one of the most conservative groups of freshmen” to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010.
He said the nation now has a healthy focus on the deficit. The next step, he said during the campaign, is “to get the government back to something we can understand, help create that environment for growth.”
The state Democratic Party had difficulty finding someone to challenge Mulvaney. Knott served on a committee seeking a challenger and stepped up after no one came forward. She did not have a campaign manager and did not get financial support from the state Democratic Party.
Knott said she “failed at fundraising miserably,” relying heavily on personal appearances. Knott raised about $25,000, while Mulvaney had about $725,000 to use for his re-election bid.
She was endorsed by the AFL-CIO labor union and the S.C. Working Families Party. She was actually listed on the ballot twice: Once as a Democrat and again as a Working Families candidate.
Knott criticized Mulvaney for signing lobbyist Grover Norquist’s pledge not to raise taxes.
“The nonsense about tax cuts for the wealthy creating jobs is getting old,” she said. “History has proven that trickle-down economics doesn’t work.” Observer staff writer Ann Doss Helms contributed.