What can you expect in the South Carolina primaries?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal and state lawmakers in South Carolina will appear before voters Tuesday in the primary elections, which will see the latest skirmish in an ongoing feud involving a former Republican speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Voters will decide nearly 90 contested primaries for the House of Representatives and both chambers of the state Legislature. Republicans’ hold on these offices is unlikely to be threatened this fall, but one contest could further exacerbate divisions within the party.

Rep. Nancy Mace is running for a third term in the 1st Congressional District in the state’s Lowcountry, along the Atlantic coast near Charleston. In 2023, she was one of eight U.S. Republicans in the House of Representatives who broke with the party and voted to oust Representative Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Since then, McCarthy has thrown the weight of his political operation and fundraising prowess against the defectors, backing challengers to dethrone them in their primaries.

In April, McCarthy’s political action committee, Majority Committee PAC or “MC PAC,” made a $10,000 contribution to Mace’s leading opponent, Catherine Templeton, the former director of the state labor department under then-Gov. Nikki Haley. A separate committee, American Prosperity Alliance, on which a McCarthy ally serves as a senior adviser, has made contributions to a group called South Carolina Patriots PAC, which has spent more than $2.1 million to defeat Mace. American Prosperity Alliance has also made contributions to a group called the America Fund, one of the top donors to the South Carolina Patriots PAC.

McCarthy recently endorsed Mace during her 2022 re-election bid, but the relationship quickly deteriorated since the chairman’s vote. McCarthy told reporters in February that he hopes Mace “gets the help to get her life on track.” She has a lot of challenges.” Mace responded in one fundraising video that McCarthy “lied to the American people” and that he is “a loser.” She has described Templeton as McCarthy’s “puppet.”

In addition to McCarthy, Templeton’s other supporters include former Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Joe Wilson of the nearby 2nd Congressional District. Mace has the support of former President Donald Trump and current Chairman Mike Johnson.

Other key races on Tuesday include the GOP primaries in the state’s 3rd and 4th Congressional Districts. In the 3rd District, a crowded field of seven Republicans is vying for the nomination to replace Rep. Jeff Duncan, who announced in January he would not seek an eighth term. In the 4th District, three-term Rep. William Timmons faces a challenge from state Rep. Adam Morgan, founder of South Carolina’s version of the U.S. House Republicans’ Freedom Caucus. Voters in the 3rd District gave Trump 68% of the vote in 2020, while 58% of voters in the 4th District supported the then-president.

Further down the ballot, there are about 20 Senate primaries and just under 60 House primaries. All 170 of the state’s legislative seats are up for election in November. The Republicans enjoy a lopsided majority in both Houses.

The congressional elections will use district boundaries that have been at the center of an ongoing legal dispute over the representation of the state’s Black voters. In late May, the Supreme Court upheld a Republican-drawn map that drew Mace to a significantly safer district than the one she was first elected to in 2020. A lower court ruled in 2023 that the card discriminated against black voters by deliberately diluting their voting rights. current.

Here’s what to expect on Tuesday:


The primaries in the state of South Carolina will be held on Tuesday. Polls close at 7:00 PM ET.


The Associated Press will announce voting results and declare winners in 88 races, including nine contested primaries for the U.S. House of Representatives, 23 for the Senate and 56 for the state House.


South Carolina has an open primary system, meaning any registered voter can participate in any party’s primaries.


In South Carolina, primaries with three or more candidates are subject to a runoff if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote. If the leading candidate in a contest is hovering near 50%, the race may not be called until the additional votes are counted. The AP will declare winners in races in which a candidate clearly received more than 50% of the vote, or, if no candidate received a majority, declare that each of the top two vote-getters has advanced to a runoff.

In the 1st Congressional District, Mace’s voting performance in her 2022 primary will provide a good benchmark as results are reported Tuesday evening. That year, she and former state Rep. Katie Arrington each carried three of the district’s six counties, with Mace carrying the vote-rich Beaufort and Charleston counties and Arrington increasingly narrowly winning Berkeley and Dorchester. They split the two smaller provinces.

The AP does not make forecasts and will only declare a winner if it has been established that there is no scenario with which the underlying candidates can close the gap. If no race is called, the AP will continue to report on any newsworthy developments, such as concessions to candidates or declarations of victory. The AP will make it clear that it has not yet declared a winner and explain why.

In South Carolina, recounts occur automatically if the margin between the winning and losing candidates (or between the second-place candidate who qualifies for the runoff and a candidate who does not qualify for the runoff) does not exceed 1% of the total number of votes. The AP can declare a winner in a race eligible for a recount if it can determine the lead is too large for a recount or legal challenge to change the outcome.

What do attendance and presales look like?

As of Wednesday, there were nearly 3.3 million registered voters in South Carolina.

In the 2022 gubernatorial primary, turnout was 5% of registered voters in the Democratic primary and 10% in the Republican primary. About 29% of Democratic primary voters and 17% of Republican primary voters cast ballots before Election Day.

As of Wednesday, a total of 82,724 voters had cast ballots before Election Day, most of which came in the form of early in-person voting. About 15,000 votes were cast by mail, about 48% for the Democratic primary and about 52% for the Republican primary.

How long does it usually take to count votes?

In the 2022 primaries, the AP first reported results at 7:21 p.m. ET, or 21 minutes after polls closed. Election night tabulation ended at 1:14 a.m. ET with more than 99% of the total votes counted.


As of Tuesday, there are 147 days until the November general election.

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