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Late Tuesday night, Republican Mick Mulvaney thanked a crowded roomful of Republican supporters at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster for helping him win the U.S. House District 5 seat, unseating longtime Democratic incumbent John Spratt.
Fellow Republican Deborah Long said an emotional Mulvaney thanked his parents, his wife, Pam, and the more than 1,000 volunteers who helped him win the race, especially John Major. Major drove Mulvaney’s bus all over the district, despite being recently diagnosed with cancer.
“We end tonight at the same place we started,” Mulvaney said. “We want to look at what folks really agree on.
“We said all along this wasn’t a Republican, a Democrat or an independent message, this was a conservative, 5th District message.”
As of 11:45 p.m., Mulvaney had 95,578 votes (55 percent) to Spratt’s 79,750 (45 percent), with results in from 354 of 407 precincts (87 percent) in the district.
With only 10 Lancaster County precincts tallied, Spratt had a slight edge over Mulvaney here, 2,789 to 2763.
Spratt, however, had not conceded the race by presstime.
Mulvaney, the state senator for District 16, challenged Spratt for a seat he’s held since 1983. Mulvaney will be the first U.S. congressman from Lancaster County since J.P. Richards.
Richards, who lived in Heath Springs, served in the U.S. House in the 1950s during Dwight Eisenhower’s presidency.
Mulvaney said he’s also the first Republican to win this seat in the last century.
The candidates in this year’s race for the 5th district seat fought over national health care, stimulus spending, campaign funding from outside groups and their plans for putting South Carolinians back to work.
The 5th Congressional District includes all of Cherokee, Chester, Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lancaster, Marlboro, Newberry and York counties, as well as parts of Florence, Lee and Sumter counties.
Haley declared winner
It was a historical moment for South Carolina Tuesday night when The Associated Press declared Republican Nikki Haley the winner in the governor’ race.
She defeated Democratic opponent Vincent Sheheen, making her the first minority governor in the Palmetto State.
Haley, a state representative from Lexington and the daughter of Indian immigrants, will replace Gov. Mark Sanford in January.
Haley, 38, is a state representative from the Columbia suburbs, who was endorsed early by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. She was supported by the Tea Party movement and had to deal with allegations of extramarital affairs. Haley, a married mother of two, denied the affairs.
With Haley’s election, South Carolina became the 24th state to put a woman in the governor’s mansion.
South Carolina ranks dead last for the percentage of women serving in the state Legislature, according to the Center for America Women and Politics at Rutgers University.
Sheheen conceded about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. He congratulated Haley and thanked his family and supporters. Sheheen said he could tell the supporters wanted to take the state in a new direction.
“We were close, oh so close,” Sheheen said. “At the end of the day you can say we fought a good fight and completed the race.”