Local politicians are putting their names in for federal office. So, where do those moves leave Lake Wylie?
On Thursday afternoon, S.C. Rep. Ralph Norman announced he is running for the U.S. House Dist. 5 seat coming available as former U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney was confirmed to lead the Office of Management and Budget for the Trump administration in Washington, D.C. Norman also resigned his state seat. He timed his announcement so an election to fill the seat he is leaving coincides with the one for the seat he seeks.
Norman expects to save taxpayers about $35,000 by holding the elections together.
“I’ve always been a principled conservative and I do everything I can to look out for the taxpayers and citizens of this state,” he said in a statement.
On Feb. 6 Tommy Pope, another representative of the Lake Wylie area, announced he also is running for the seat Mulvaney is leaving.
“I’ve decided to step forward because there has never been a greater opportunity for real conservative change in Washington and I want to help lead it,” he said at the time.
Pope won’t be leaving his state seat ahead of the federal contest.
“I was elected to represent the people of House Dist. 47 and will continue to uphold my commitment to work faithfully on their behalf,” Pope said. “Further I was selected by my peers in Columbia to provide leadership as speaker pro tempore of the House.”
Pope referenced ongoing, important state issues that warrant attention even as he campaigns for the federal seat.
“My peers expect my leadership and the families in my district deserve to be represented,” he said. “I won’t let them down.”
The Dist. 5 election will leave an opening for Lake Wylie representation. The only question is, how many? If Norman or another candidate except Pope wins, half the community will need a new legislator. If Pope wins, the entire community will.
Pope now serves state House Dist. 47. That district covers the north side of S.C. 49 from Buster Boyd Bridge to Hamiltons Ferry Road, then both sides of the highway to Three Points. It covers everything west of S.C. 49 to Five Points, and west of Hands Mill Highway heading south. Pope’s district extends west of Clover and southwest into Rock Hill.
Norman is leaving state House Dist. 48. The district runs south of S.C. 49 from Buster Boyd to Hamiltons Ferry, then east of S.C. 49 and Hands Mill Highway well past Five Points. The district also includes Tega Cay and stretches of Rock Hill, mainly north of Celanese Road.
A candidate forum already is planned for the Dist. 5 hopefuls at 7 p.m. March 8. The Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce and Clover-Lake Wylie Republican Women’s Club are hosting at the River Hills Community Church life center.
Dist. 5 serves all or part of 11 counties, including York and Lancaster counties. Filing runs March 3-13. A primary comes May 2 and, if needed, a runoff May 16. The special election would come June 20.
Beth Covington with the York County registration and elections office confirmed the state seat Norman is opening will hold its election in line with the U.S. Dist. 5 seat. All dates are the same.
“I think there’s like three or four special special elections that day,” she said. “His seat is on there. It’s all going to be the same. The only thing that will be different is the filing fee.”
Covington confirmed what Norman said about it is a savings for taxpayers by holding the elections together. It also helps her office, since elections workers have to have the voting booths out countywide for the federal office anyway.
“We knew that was going to be a special election,” Covington said. “That encompasses the entire county. Having Dist. 48 come open and putting it on top of that is not a big deal for us.”
Filing for the seat Norman vacated is $147. Filing for the federal seat is $2,610.
Should Pope win the federal seat, a special election would follow to replace him at the state level.