Spratt cruises to 14th term in Congress

U.S. Rep. John Spratt glided to a 14th term Tuesday and already was relishing the prospect of working with a White House controlled by his own party.

Spratt, a Democrat first elected in 1982, bested Republican Albert Spencer of Gaffney and Constitutional Party candidate Frank Waggoner of Sumter.

When Congress returns to session, Spratt -- chairman of the influential House Budget Committee -- hopes to forge ahead with a second economic stimulus package and move toward balancing the federal budget.

He says that would be easier with Barack Obama as president.

"I've had a couple of discussions with Senator Obama himself about this very subject," Spratt said in an interview at Rock Hill's VFW lodge, where 150 supporters held a victory party. "He said, 'I think it would be useful if we get together early on.'"

Three years ago, Republican strategists circulated around Washington, D.C., a stuffed duck symbolizing what they said was Spratt's vulnerability in the conservative-leaning 5th District.

The expectation hasn't proven accurate. Spratt turned back Rock Hill developer Ralph Norman in the 2006 midterm election. This year, the GOP made little effort to recruit another high-profile candidate.

"Obviously, I thought I was going to do better," said Spencer, a physical education teacher. "Congressman Spratt's done a lot of good things for the district."

The 5th District sprawls across 12 counties from Cherokee in the West to Dillon in the East -- including York, Chester and Lancaster.

"I never felt doubtful or uneasy about my race," said Spratt, who turned 66 on Saturday. "Albert Spencer is a nice man. Frank Waggoner ... seems like a nice enough fellow. They waged kind of a minimal campaign."

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