Despite abuse revelations, Parnell appears headed to second shot at U.S. House seat

South Carolina congressional candidate announces staying in the race, despite pressure to quit

Archie Parnell apologizes for mistakes he made in the past, but refuses to quit race
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Archie Parnell apologizes for mistakes he made in the past, but refuses to quit race

Archie Parnell led the pack of Democrats seeking a chance to run for the 5th District U.S. congressional seat late Tuesday night after a primary race recently marked by controversy.

Before 10 p.m., the AP called the race in favor of Parnell.

"I am deeply honored and humbled by tonight’s vote, but I know this victory is not mine alone. This is about the people of the 5th District," Parnell said in a statement released by his campaign.

"Tonight, the people sent a clear message to everyone. You don’t have to be defined by your worst mistake. You don't have to be cast aside. You are not alone. You can be better. And, together, we can be better. We can and must enact better laws to strengthen our economy, make taxes more fair, make schools safe, invest in education and protect the planet. Now it’s time to take that message and this movement to November and win there."

Parnell refused to drop out of the race after reports emerged that the Sumter Democrat physically abused his then-wife in 1973.

A York County Council race and two Chester County Council races were decided in the primary vote Tuesday.

Parnell was ahead of three primary opponents with 61.20 percent of the vote at 9:20 p.m.

Parnell was long seen as the favorite in the Democratic primary after losing narrowly to Rep. Ralph Norman (R-Rock Hill) in a 2017 special election.

The race was one of the closest congressional races in South Carolina in 20 years.

But after the domestic abuse allegations came out, many key members of Parnell’s campaign resigned and Democratic Party officials called on Parnell to drop out.

"If I withdraw, I would not be fully facing my past," Parnell said in a video posted to his campaign Facebook. "If I withdraw, I would be telling anyone who makes a terrible mistake that that one terrible mistake will define them for the rest of their lives."

Parnell was challenged in the primary by former undocumented immigrant Mark Ali, who had 13.71 percent of the vote at 9:20 p.m.; former professional clown Steve Lough, with 8.82 percent; and former York County Council member Sidney Moore, with 16.26 percent.

The primary winner will face off against Norman Nov. 9. If no candidate holds the majority of the vote, a runoff election will be held June 26.

York County Council

Republican incumbent Robert W. Winkler held on to a narrow lead above challenger Joe M. Cox at 9:15 p.m. for District 3 seat.

Winkler had 51.51 percent of the vote at 9:20 p.m. The winner will be unopposed in the general election.

Bump Roddy will be on the ballot unopposed in November for reelection for the District 4 seat.

Republican Joel Hamilton and Democrat Montrio Belton will face off in November for the District 7 seat.

Chester County Council

No one held the majority in Chester County Council District 2 race at 9:20 p.m., but Democratic incumbent Archie Lucas trailed the pack with only 17.01 percent of the vote. Challengers Chris Melvin held 34.90 percent and Mike Vaughn held 48.09 percent.

Democratic incumbent Mary A. Guy held a lead over challenger Tammy Williams with 69.68 percent of the vote in District 5 as of 9:20 p.m. The winner will be unopposed in the general election.

Democrat Brad Jordan is running unopposed for reelection in the District 1 seat.

Hannah Smoot: 803-329-4068, @hgsmoot
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