Republican U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman won his second match against Democratic challenger Archie Parnell by a much larger margin than their first race in 2017.
Norman first defeated Parnell in the June 2017 special election to replace Mick Mulvaney, who was appointed President Donald Trump’s budget director. That race was, at the time, one of the closest Congressional races in South Carolina in the last 20 years.
Norman beat Parnell in 2017 by just over 3 percentage points. In 2018, Norman beat Parnell by 15.5 percentage points with 10 out of the 11 counties represented by District 5 fully reporting Wednesday morning.
Parnell won three of the four counties he carried in 2017 – but he lost to Norman in Chester County.
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Norman won Chester County’s vote with 51.87 percent, compared to Parnell’s 47.16 percent. In 2017, Parnell took Chester County with 53.61 percent of the vote.
Norman won both York and Lancaster counties in 2017 and 2018. He took York County with 54.4 percent in 2017 and with 57.98 percent in 2018, with 95 of 96 precincts reporting. Norman won Lancaster County with 55.07 percent in 2017 and 60.32 percent in 2018.
After his victory, Norman said voters turned out to the polls in force because of their “pent-up patriotism.”
Wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, he said voters supported him and Trump.
“They braved the rain, they braved the weather,” Norman said. “People are wanting to exercise their freedom. They’re patriotic. They want to do what’s best for the country.”
York, Lancaster and Chester counties all saw larger voter turnout for the 2018 midterm election than for the 2014 midterm.
In 2014, 39.2 percent of registered York County voters cast a ballot, compared to 54.95 percent in 2018, with 95 of 96 precincts reporting.
In Lancaster County, 41.1 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in 2014, compared to 56.98 percent in 2018.
In Chester County, 40.9 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in 2014, compared to 55.13 percent in 2018.
Norman drew interest in his campaign with an appearance from Sen. Lindsey Graham in Fort Mill Oct. 25. Graham criticized Democrats for their role in the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh hearings last month.
Graham said the Kavanaugh hearings and the news of a large group of Central American migrants traveling toward the U.S. should motivate residents to vote Republican.
“It will only stop if they lose at the ballot box,” Graham said, referring to Democrats. “So between the caravan, and Kavanaugh, if you’re not motivated to vote as Republican, then you’re legally dead.”