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SC Democrat boasts cash lead in Congress race

SC District 5 voters explain their votes in today's special election

On Tuesday, voters in South Carolina's 5th district went to the polls today to vote to fill White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney's vacated House seat.
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On Tuesday, voters in South Carolina's 5th district went to the polls today to vote to fill White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney's vacated House seat.

The two leading candidates in a tight S.C. race for Congress are locked in a close cash race.

Both incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman of Rock Hill and Democratic challenger Archie Parnell of Sumter had reasons to cheer about their latest fundraising numbers, available Monday.

Norman finished ahead in total contributions during the first three months of 2018, taking in $323,048 to the $306,000 raised by Parnell's campaign.

But the Sumter Democrat had $415,000 in cash on hand to spend after the first quarter, slightly more than the $407,704.75 that Norman had to spend.

This year's race could be a rematch between the two candidates. Norman won a surprisingly close 3-point victory over Parnell in a 2017 special election. By the end of 2017, Parnell boasted a lead in fundraising after deciding to make a second try for South Carolina's 5th District seat.

Parnell's camp said the Democrat had out-raised the incumbent by $150,000 this election cycle, including multiple donations from the national political action committee ActBlue.

"We are truly blessed by the outpouring of grassroots support we have received so far," Parnell said in a statement. "I am incredibly grateful that so many people have placed their faith and trust in me to bring some common-sense leadership back to Washington."

Norman's campaign did not comment on Monday's filing.

To get another shot at Norman, Parnell first must beat three other candidates in the June 12 Democratic primary.

Steven Lough, a professional clown running for the Democratic nomination, reported raising $5,858 in the first quarter, all but $818 of which came from his own pocket. Mark Ali and Sidney Moore had yet to report their fundraising totals to the Federal Election Commission as of Monday afternoon.

The 5th District is centered on York County and includes Charlotte's southern suburbs in the north-central part of South Carolina. It also reaches down to the Midlands to include part or all of Fairfield, Kershaw, Newberry and Sumter counties.

The seat was held by a Democrat until 2010, when longtime U.S. Rep. John Spratt, D-York, lost to Mick Mulvaney, R-Indian Land. Mulvaney held the seat until last year, when he resigned to be become White House budget director under President Donald Trump.

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