SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – Political signs are planted throughout South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District ahead of Tuesday’s special election. In the Upstate, the district includes Cherokee, Union, and Spartanburg counties.
“Special Elections to replace appointments are continually being viewed as referendums on the Trump presidency,” said Dr. David Alvis, associate professor of government at Wofford College. “Each of the parties is going to claim this is a measure of the Trump presidency.”
The president tweeted his support Monday for Republican Candidate Ralph Norman.
“I’m a big fan of President Trump,” said Norman. “If you look at what he’s done in spite of being faced a lot of headwind from the media and those that want to see him fail.”
Norman’s Democratic opponent Archie Parnell says he would stand against the president when necessary.
“The contrast between me and Norman is quite stark,” said Parnell. “Norman did nothing or said anything when Trump attacked BMW. I think we need somebody to think independently of Trump.”
An issue both candidates want to tackle is healthcare with Norman saying he supports the recently passed House bill.
“I think it’s important to expand HSA accounts for businesses. I think it’s important to have a separate pool for the preexisting conditions,” Norman said.
Parnell says looking to lower the high costs of prescription drugs is one way he’d address the topic.
“We think the ACA (Affordable Care Act) should be continued. It should be fixed but we shouldn’t be throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” he said.
Parnell says he’s been endorsed by the previous Democrat who held district 5 until it turned Republican.
“I think [John] Spratt was a fairly conservative democratic candidate and in some ways Mulvaney did I think pick up on a number of things where he left off,” said Dr. Alvis. “If you look at Archie Parnell, he is running as a rather moderate Democrat.”
He said District 5 has always been rather conservative, but on the border of being a Republican district.
“It does have a fairly sizable minority population so it has – in some ways – been a place where democratic candidates have been successful,” said Dr. Alvis. “On a whole it is still a fairly conservative district like many of those in South Carolina.”
There are also several third party candidates in the District 5 Congressional race. They include Green Party candidate David Kulma, American Party candidate Josh Thornton, and Victor Kocher of the Libertarian Party.
Polls will be opened from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.