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Incumbent US Reps. Duncan and Clyburn win in South Carolina

By JEFFREY COLLINS Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Two U.S. House incumbents from South Carolina easily won reelection Tuesday.

Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn won a 15th term and Republican U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan won a sixth term.

While the U.S. Senate race and two other U.S. House races saw record breaking spending, Clyburn and Duncan beat opponents who raised little money.

Each of South Carolina’s seven U.S. House districts has a Republican taking on a Democrat. And four of the seven challengers to incumbents are women. South Carolina has only elected one woman to Congress for a full two-year term.

South Carolina voters have taken advantage of no-excuse absentee voting approved by the Legislature because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As absentee voting ended Monday, more than 1.3 million votes had already been cast, either in person or by mail, according to the state Election Commission. That’s nearly 37% of the state’s registered voters.

In the last presidential election in 2016, 2.1 million ballots were cast in the state.

Two-thirds of the absentee ballots were cast in person. Election officials said about 35,000 absentee ballots have been sent out but not returned.

The most expensive and most watched U.S. House race Tuesday involves Democrat U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham, trying to win a second term after winning the seat anchored by Charleston and Hilton Head Island two years ago. His Republican opponent is state Rep. Nancy Mace.

Here are some of the other races showing up on ballots across South Carolina:

2nd DISTRICT

Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson finds himself in a tough fight as he seeks a 10th term.

Democrat Adair Ford Boroughs raised more money than Wilson and is running an energetic, savvy campaign in her first political race.

Wilson has kept a low profile since a brief brush with national infamy when he yelled “You lie!” at President Barack Obama during a speech before a joint session of Congress in September 2009.

Boroughs raised more than $2 million, while Wilson raised about $1.5 million. She was born in tiny Williston in Barnwell County and called herself a “daughter of the district”

“We need someone who shows up and handles these problems every single day, not once a decade when they finally have a competitive race,” Boroughs said.

The district stretching from the suburbs of Columbia through staunchly Republican Lexington County and into Aiken is one of the state’s most conservative. A Democrat hasn’t won there since 1964.

Also running are Sonny Narang for the Alliance Party and Kathleen Wright for the Constitution Party.

3rd DISTRICT

Republican U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan has won a sixth term in South Carolina.

Duncan defeated Democrat Hosea Cleveland, a retired insurance salesman who has run for U.S. House in the past four elections, winning his party’s nomination in 2020 and 2016, when he was unopposed.

The congressional district covers 11 counties in the northwest part of South Carolina west of Greenville and north of Aiken.

Duncan spent eight years in the South Carolina House before running for his U.S. House seat. He is known as one of the most conservative members of Congress.

Duncan raised almost $1.4 million for his reelection campaign. Cleveland raised about $23,000.

4th DISTRICT

Republican U.S. Rep. William Timmons is trying to win reelection after making his way to Washington in 2018 from the South Carolina Senate.

Timmons faces Democrat Kim Nelson, a political newcomer, in the district that includes Greenville and Spartanburg.

Timmons raised more than $1.3 million. Nelson, a public health care advocate, ran a substantial campaign on improving health care and raised almost $160,000.

Timmons’ 23 percentage point win in 2018 was the closest the Democratic challenger has come to winning the seat this decade.

Michael Chandler was also running under the Constitution Party.

5th DISTRICT

Republican U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman faces a former wide receiver for the University of South Carolina as he seeks a second full term.

Democrat Moe Brown is making his first run at political office.

Brown is touting his days working in the state Commerce Department under former Republican Gov. Nikki Haley. Meanwhile, Norman had Haley in person kicking off his reelection campaign earlier this year.

Brown tried to make it a competitive race on the money side, raising about $450,000. Norman more than doubled that.

The sprawling district includes the rapidly growing suburbs of Charlotte, North Carolina, northern sections of the Interstate 85 corridor and areas around Sumter.

6th DISTRICT

South Carolina’s longest serving congressman and a leader among House Democrats is heading back to the U.S. House for a 15th term.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn defeated Republican challenger John McCollum.

The congressional district connects parts of Columbia with parts of Charleston and was drawn to ensure it had a majority of minority voters. Clyburn is the only representative the district has had since it was drawn that way in the early 1990s.

The Navy veteran and tech company employee ran against Clyburn’s experience, saying that although he thought Clyburn was a good and respectable man, no one should serve in the U.S. House that long.

Clyburn’s most visible decision in 2020 was strongly throwing his support behind Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at a moment when the former vice president was vulnerable, helping him to a resounding victory in the South Carolina primary and the party’s nomination.

Clyburn raised $3.2 million for what always appeared to be an easy reelection bid, while McCollum didn’t raise enough by the end of October to need to file a federal campaign report.

Mark Hackett of the Constitution Party also ran for the seat.

7th DISTRICT

Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Rice is trying to remain the only congressman his district has ever had.

Rice is seeking a fifth term against Democrat Melissa Watson in the district that stretches from Darlington to Florence to Myrtle Beach. It was drawn in 2012 when South Carolina gained enough population to get a new district. Rice has won every race.

Wilson is a teacher who promised to work for economic development, education and infrastructure.

Rice raised more than $1.3 million for his reelection, while Wilson raised about $130,000.

STATEHOUSE RACES

All 46 of the South Carolina Senate seats are on the ballot, and more than two-thirds of them have a race between a Democrat and a Republican.

Democrats are pushing hard to flip four Republican-held Senate seats in the Charleston area. If they won them all without losing any seats, the 27-19 Republican majority would vanish to a 23-23 tie.

But Republicans are pushing to flip Democrats from several seats in the Upstate, which voted for Republican President Donald Trump in 2016.

Just under half of the 124 South Carolina House races have opponents from both major parties. Republicans hold 78 seats, a majority that should remain safe no matter Tuesday’s results.

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Follow Jeffrey Collins on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JSCollinsAP.

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Find AP’s full election coverage at APNews.com/Election2020.