Politics & Government

Ralph Norman to run for Congress – if Mick Mulvaney takes Trump budget job

S.C. Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill
S.C. Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill

State Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill, said Thursday he will run for the U.S. Congress seat held by U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney – provided that Mulvaney is approved by the U.S. Senate as Donald Trump’s budget chief.

“I’m going to do it. I have already started,” Norman said Thursday. “I’ve met with people to set up the campaign.”

Mulvaney, an Indian Land Republican, represents South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District. Trump has asked Mulvaney to run the federal budget office, opening up the seat in what has become an increasingly conservative district.

Mulvaney will have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate – a confirmation that appears likely.

“I certainly think Mick will be approved,” Norman said.

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Norman, 63, a real estate developer, has been in the S.C. General Assembly since 2009, but was first elected in 2004. In 2006, he ran for the same congressional seat he now is seeking against then-incumbent Democrat John Spratt of York. Spratt soundly defeated Norman in that race but the district that covers much of the Upstate, including York, Chester and Lancaster counties, has become more conservative in the decade since.

Norman said he learned lessons about running a congressional campaign in 2006 that will be put to good use this time.

“I know the district and its people,” Norman said.

The field could be crowded with other Republicans - including friends and political allies. Yet Norman said a choice from strong candidates is good for the public. Political observers have mentioned fellow York County Republican legislators Gary Simrill and Tommy Pope, as well as former S.C. Republican Party chair Chad Connelly.

Democrats mentioned have included Fran Person, who lost to Mulvaney in November, state Rep. John King of Rock Hill, and state Sen. Vincent Sheheen of Camden.

Filling a congressional vacancy

If Mick Mulvaney leaves Congress for the Trump administration, nothing changes until there is a vacancy. Mulvaney would resign from Congress before taking the Trump job.

Once the vacancy occurs:

▪  Filing opens the third Friday after the date of vacancy and lasts 10 days.

▪  The primary would be held on the 11th Tuesday after the date of vacancy

▪  Any primary runoff would be held on the 13th Tuesday after the date of vacancy

▪  The special election would be held on the 18th Tuesday after the date of vacancy

No, the candidate does not have to live in the district. The U.S. Constitution requires only that the candidate be 25 years old, a citizen for at least seven years, and an inhabitant of the state.

From the S.C. State Election Commission