S.C. voters on Tuesday forgave one candidate after revelations of past domestic abuse but kicked out of office another who criticized the president.
Meanwhile, a candidate for governor who had done her best to imitate President Donald Trump ultimately rubbed voters the wrong way, while a once-popular Richland solicitor fell victim to a swarm of allegations about sexual harassment allegations and improper spending.
Here are five things we learned from Tuesday's primaries:
1. Voters can forgive a 45-year-old abuse incident
Archie Parnell of Sumter, who nearly won the 5th District's seat in the U.S. House for Democrats in a 2017 special election, was left for dead by party leaders in May after news broke that he had physically abused his ex wife in the 1970s.
Despite calls to step down — and his campaign staff and donors fleeing — Parnell remained in the race.
Tuesday, Parnell won the Democratic primary, winning 60 percent of the vote. It could have been his money advantage or his higher name recognition. Or voters could have looked at Parnell, long happily remarried, and said: It was a long, long time ago.
Parnell will face U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman in November. The Rock Hill Republican, who caused a stir by pulling out a gun during a speaking engagement earlier this year, narrowly beat Parnell in last year's special election.
2. But criticizing Trump is a no-no for SC GOP voters
U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-Charleston, lost an election for the first time Tuesday, unseated by one-term state Rep. Katie Arrington of Summerville.
The race showed GOP voters, who forgave Sanford's extramarital affair, would not forgive the Charleston Republican's criticism of President Trump, including 2017 comments that Trump's rhetoric was partly to blame for a shooting at a GOP baseball practice.
Trump also gave Arlington a late push Tuesday. "Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA," Trump tweeted just hours before polls closed. "He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina. I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love."
As Arrington told her cheering supporters, "We are the party of Donald J. Trump."
3. You also can't impersonate him
Attempts to imitate Trump did not prove successful in the GOP primary race for governor.
Mount Pleasant's Catherine Templeton — initially thought to be Gov. Henry McMaster's most formidable primary opponent — worked hard on the campaign trail to show she, too — like Trump — was politically incorrect.
Templeton pretended to shoot a snake in a TV ad and touted her Confederate roots. She routinely referred to herself as a "buzz saw" and "conservative outsider," hoping to play to Trump's base in the governor's race.
The result? She came in third Tuesday, winning 21 percent of the vote.
"There’s only one Trump, for better or worse," said Chip Felkel, a Greenville Republican political consultant. "Acting like Trump does not come naturally to some candidates. We have seen that this year.”
4. That 'blue wave?' It hasn't swelled yet
Nationwide, Democrats are hopeful a "blue wave" of Democratic challengers can upend Republican incumbents in November.
But will that happen in South Carolina, where a Democrat hasn't been elected governor in two decades?
Tuesday, 239,560 ballots were cast in the Democratic primary for governor and 367,036 on the GOP side.
True, in some communities, the only local races on the ballot — many of which drove turnout — were Republican. But those numbers are not wave-like for Democrats.
5. Politicians are not immune to negative press
Fifth Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson fell to Democratic primary challenger Byron Gipson, a relative unknown, after a flurry of news reports highlighted questionable spending by Johnson's office and sexual harassment allegations against the prosecutor.
Johnson once was thought to be virtually unbeatable. But stir in news of FBI and state probes into his office and the incumbent was blown out by a wide margin.