Tags: OMB | Ralph Norman | Tommy Pope

Tight Race Predicted for OMB Director's House Seat

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Ralph Norman (AP)

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Thursday, 18 May 2017 07:51 AM Current | Bio | Archive

One of the closest Republican nomination battles for Congress in modern South Carolina history was finally decided Wednesday morning, as outsider Ralph Norman eked out a win in the open 5th District with 50.3 percent of the vote.

Since no candidate won a majority in the initial primary last month, top vote-getters Norman and Tommy Pope were required under state law to compete in the run-off held on May 16.

Both the tight nature of Norman’s nomination and the current turbulence of national politics has fueled Democratic hopes of winning the seat relinquished by Republican Mick Mulvaney to become director of the Office of Management and Budget.

The special election to fill Mulvaney’s seat will be held June 20 and Democrats have a strong contender in tax attorney Archie Parnell.

“It was the Club for Growth vs. the Chamber of Commerce, and the Club won,” former State GOP Chairman Katon Dawson said of real estate developer Norman’s razor-thin win over establishment favorite and State Rep. Tommy Pope. Both characterized themselves as strong conservatives in the mold of Mick Mulvaney, whose resignation from the House to become director of the OMB triggered the special election.

Norman and Pope were both strongly pro-life, supported repealing and replacing Obamacare, and endorsed President Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the Mexican border.

But it was support from the Club for Growth, which backs anti-tax and anti-spending Republicans, that was key to putting Norman over the top. Club for Growth, which is known for getting involved in primaries, spent more than $861,000 in an independent effort on Norman’s behalf. In addition, former State Chairman Chad Connelly, a favorite of evangelical conservatives (values voters) in the initial primary, threw his support to Norman in the run-off against Pope.

Despite enthusiasm from national Democrats about the chances of Parnell in the special election, Palmetto State Republicans who spoke to Newsmax voiced confidence Norman would keep the seat. “The 5th Congressional District of South Carolina is not suburban Atlanta [where Democrats stand a good chance of winning another special election for the House],” said former State GOP Chairman Van Hipp. “It is much more representative of blue collar conservatives who elected President Trump. I believe all conservatives will come home and elect Ralph Norman in the special election."

Former Rep. John L. Napier, R-S.C., was a bit more guarded in his optimism.

“This is now a Republican seat, given the suburban growth from the Charlotte area into the bedrooms of York and Lancaster and Chester Counties,” he told me. “Ralph Norman should win . . . unless there is a terrible backlash against the president at special election time next month. Then we are in uncharted courses.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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One of the closest Republican nomination battles for Congress in modern South Carolina history was finally decided Wednesday morning, as outsider Ralph Norman eked out a win in the open 5th District with 50.3 percent of the vote.
OMB, Ralph Norman, Tommy Pope
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2017-51-18
Thursday, 18 May 2017 07:51 AM
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