State Rep. Gary Simrill, R-Rock Hill, one of the state’s most powerful Republicans, has decided not to seek a seat in Congress when Mick Mulvaney leaves to join the administration of President-elect Donald Trump.
A fellow Republican House member from Rock Hill, Ralph Norman, has already started campaigning for the seat.
A special election could come within three months after Lancaster County’s Mulvaney, a Republican who serves the 5th Congressional District, is confirmed as expected by the U.S. Senate.
Trump has nominated Mulvaney to be director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Simrill, 50, majority leader of the S.C. House of Representatives, told The Herald that he explored a run, but says he can accomplish more in the General Assembly.
Simrill, in office for a quarter century, has pushed for road improvements and other measures.
“Upon setting out to explore a possible Congressional run, I made it clear my priority was to seek the place I could be the most effective for the citizens of York County and our state as a whole,” Simrill said.
“Right now, that doesn’t involve me going to Congress,” Simrill said. “We have big priorities for this next legislative session in the South Carolina General Assembly, and as newly elected majority leader of the S.C. House, I feel confident my time and efforts will accomplish more outside of Washington, D.C.”
Simrill, owner of Carolina Motorworks in Rock Hill, is an avowed social and fiscal conservative who has won unopposed races in recent years and even when opposed beat Democratic challengers.