LANCASTER -- What do you get when you cross a well-connected Republican real estate developer and a Democratic lawyer who knows practically everyone in her hometown?
Maybe the most expensive political race in Lancaster County history.
Republican Mick Mulvaney and Democrat Mandy Powers Norrell have traded barbs for months in their state Senate contest, quibbling over everything from why Mulvaney sends his children to private school in Charlotte to whether he's a "real" South Carolinian.
New fundraising figures show both candidates will have plenty of money to keep it going. Mulvaney has $110,000 cash on hand, including $22,000 raised in the last quarter, according to reports filed with the S.C. Ethics Commission.
Norrell, 34, boasts a $40,000 war chest, with $31,000 coming in this quarter.
"That's a fairly good bit of money," said Winston Smith, chairman of the Lancaster County Republicans. "It surprises me a little bit that it's that much, this early."
Neither candidate faces a primary challenger, so the contest will be decided in the November general election. District 16 covers the Fort Mill and Indian Land areas and much of Lancaster County.
Gil Small, chairman of the Lancaster County Democrats, said he could not recall a local race involving as much money.
Big bases of support
Norrell, a bankruptcy lawyer with an office in downtown Lancaster, drew support from attorneys across the region. Elizabeth Hyatt Robinson of Lancaster, Showell Blades and Thomas McDow of Rock Hill and Yale Zamore of Chester are among her donors.
Norrell also took in $1,000 from former County Council Chairman Alston DeVenney, who ran unsuccessfully against Mulvaney for the state House two years ago.
"I've got a lot of other people, too," said Norrell. "I knew I was going against a very well-funded opponent, so I know I have to raise a good bit. He's certainly going to outraise me, I know that."
Among Mulvaney's donors are the L&C Railroad, Fort Mill Pharmacy, Rock Hill doctor Britt Blackwell, businessman Al Simpson and Doug Barnes of Comporium Communications.
The race ranks among the highest-profile in the state. Mulvaney is considered a rising star in GOP political circles; his campaign kickoff in March drew a smorgasboard of Republican luminaries, most notably Gov. Mark Sanford.
In her first run for political office, Norrell also got her share of big-name Democrats. Former state chairman Dick Harpootlian ($500) and Rock Hill businessman Ell Close ($1,000) pitched in.
Taking aim at pay raises
Last week, Mulvaney touted his role in stopping a so-called back door legislative pay raise. Mulvaney says he prevented lawmakers from opening a gaping $2.4 billion hole in the state's retirement system.
"It's not right that we were seeking to increase our benefits at a time when other folks were paying the consequences for our actions. " Mulvaney said, referring to cuts in this year's state budget.
Earlier in the week, the House adopted the measure on a "voice vote." But Mulvaney's motion to send the bill back to committee forced each legislator to go on the record.
Norrell said she would have voted the same way as Mulvaney, making this one of the few issues on which they agree.