Politics & Government

Republican candidate has lead in fundraising for SC’s 5th District special election

Republican state legislator Ralph Norman, a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, thanks his supporters on election night, Nov. 7, 2006, in Rock Hill, S.C. His wife, Elaine, and other family members stand behind him.
Republican state legislator Ralph Norman, a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, thanks his supporters on election night, Nov. 7, 2006, in Rock Hill, S.C. His wife, Elaine, and other family members stand behind him. AP Photo/The Herald

A Republican former member of the South Carolina House of Representatives and a Democratic former Goldman Sachs senior adviser have raised the most money so far in the race to fill Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s former 5th Congressional District seat in South Carolina.

Republican Ralph Norman received the most in contributions among the seven Republicans, three Democrats and six third-party candidates vying for the seat, based on Federal Election Commission disclosures with a cutoff date of April 12.

Norman has raised $285,360 and took out a personal loan for $305,000, bringing his total receipts to $590,360.

In a news release Friday, Norman said the donations illustrated the type of candidate that 5th District voters wanted.

“Our message of a balanced budget amendment, term limits to end career politicians and a real plan to keep America safe is resonating with voters,” Norman said.“These fundraising numbers clearly show that voters want a businessman to represent them in Washington, not another trial lawyer.”

Robert May, Norman’s communications director, said Norman planned to match campaign donations dollar for dollar with the loan because he wouldn’t “ask his supporters to do something that he wouldn’t do.”

Democratic candidate Archie Parnell reported $243,032 in contributions without a loan. Parnell, a former tax attorney, was endorsed by John Spratt, the Democratic former congressman who represented South Carolina’s 5th District for 30 years before 2010, when Mulvaney took the seat.

“The strength of this campaign is our people — I’m grateful for every single one of our donors, volunteers and supporters. I invite everyone to join our growing campaign,” Parnell said in a news release Friday. “In Congress, I will use my experience in business and as a tax expert to eliminate corporate tax loopholes and to lower taxes for working people in South Carolina.”

In the Democratic primaries, Parnell will face off against Alexis Frank, a student and Army veteran, and Les Murphy, a Marine veteran who works for the nonprofit Carolina Veterans Commission.

Frank has raised $44,223, while Murphy’s totals haven’t been released yet. Frank told McClatchy she was excited about the donations.

“It feels really good because we pride ourselves in the fact that we are a grass-roots campaign,” Frank said. “You can imagine we don’t make that much money. We don’t have a lot of money and big established people behind us. We really are the epitome of people power.”

Chad Connelly, former S.C. Republican Party chairman, raised $189,550. Connelly has been endorsed by House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and South Carolina Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan.

“People really want to support a conservative outsider. We’re so thankful for and proud of the deep well of support we have already amassed in such a short period of time.” Connelly said in a news release. “In the final days before the primary, we will redouble our efforts to propel our campaign to victory.”

Republican Tom Mullikin, a Camden, South Carolina, attorney and commander of the S.C. State Guard, reported $91,683 in contributions, took out a loan for $144,000 by April 12 and reported an additional $82,000 within two days after the cutoff period. His total receipts were $317,683.

“My investment in my campaign represents my deep personal commitment to being a strong voice of support for President Trump’s American resurgence,” Mullikin said.

Republican Tommy Pope, an attorney and speaker pro tempore for the South Carolina House of Representatives, raised $196,002 and took out a $30,000 loan, for a total of $226,002.

Sheri Few, a conservative education activist, reported $52,163 in donations and took out a loan for $8,578 to bring her total to about $60,742. April Few, campaign spokeswoman and the candidate’s daughter-in-law, said they were happy with the support, especially considering that Few is “a grass-roots mom activist.”

Out of the seven Republican candidates, Kris Wampler, an Indian Land, South Carolina, attorney, reported the lowest amount of campaign contributions: $2,880.

Republican Ray Craig did not record any filings with the FEC yet. The Democratic and Republican party primaries May 2 will decide which candidates move on to the special election June 20.

Donovan Harrell: 202-383-6044, @dono_harrell