In South Carolina’s hotly-contested primary runoff for Mick Mulvaney’s old seat, it looks like the Republican candidates are headed for a recount.
Two GOP candidates, Ralph Norman and Tommy Pope, were running to fill a seat vacated by Mulvaney, who now serves as director of Office of Management and Budget. Norman received 50.3 percent of the vote, while Pope received 49.7 percent.
“With all precincts reporting, the difference in votes between former lawmaker Ralph Norman and state legislator Tommy Pope on Tuesday night was less than 1 percent, meaning a recount is automatic,” reported the Associated Press.
Whoever wins in the recount will compete with Democrat Archie Parnell in a special election held June 20 for South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District.
Andrew Roth, vice president of government affairs at the Club for Growth, an organization that promotes economic freedom, told The Daily Signal in an interview that there was a significant distinction between the two candidates.
“Norman was a clear conservative choice, while Pope was the clear establishment choice,” Roth said. “And when presented with those two choices, voters almost always go with conservatives.”
Club for Growth, combined with Club for Growth Action, put $861,144.84 behind Norman, according to Roth.
If he wins both the recount and the general election, Norman will fill the seat held by Mulvaney, a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, a conservative group in Congress. Mulvaney served in the House from 2011-2017.
He ran on a platform that included calls to repeal and replace Obamacare, term limits for members of Congress, and support for building President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.
Pope, who garnered 49.7 percent of the vote, worked in law enforcement as an agent for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division before going to law school and serving in South Carolina’s 16th Judicial Circuit.
He has served South Carolina’s House of Representatives since 2011 and built his congressional campaign on a platform that included calls for job growth, attention to the national debt, and strengthened national security measures.
Pope also supports Trump’s promised border wall.
“I trust Tommy, and I know he’ll fight to defend free enterprise, lower taxes, and create good, high-paying jobs,” Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said in a campaign ad in support of Pope.
— U.S. Chamber Action (@USChamberAction) May 16, 2017
Pope, Roth said, is backed by organizations that some claim favor the establishment, including the U.S Chamber of Commerce, Conservative Leadership Alliance, Inc., and Americans United for Values.
“All spent money on behalf of Pope and the establishment,” Roth said.
Oran Smith, president of the Palmetto Family Council of South Carolina, an organization that works to promote family values, told The Daily Signal that the candidates had run very different campaigns.
“I think Pope has run more of a guy-next-door type of a campaign and Norman has run more of a national, conservative type campaign,” Smith said.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and a former Republican senator from South Carolina, Jim DeMint, campaigned for Norman, The Washington Post reported. DeMint was formerly president of The Heritage Foundation, the parent organization of The Daily Signal.