Going into last night, GA-06 sucked up most of the political oxygen, so the concurrent SC-05 race was relegated to playing something of a second fiddle. Despite being, ostensibly, more the GOP leaning of the two, SC-05 was actually closer.
Here are a few precinct maps trying to make sense of the result from South Carolina.
One reason SC-05 got less attention, as we said, is that the President won there by double-digits, suggesting it would be less competitive. Last November, the President beat Secretary Clinton there by almost 19%:
Despite this, last night, Democrat Archie Parnell came within a few points of beating ex-State Rep. Ralph Norman:
Compared to Clinton, all but a relative handful of precincts swung to Parnell:
Some of the precincts in Sumter County, in the district’s southeastern corner, are split with the adjacent district which is why the swings there look a bit wild.
Overall, Parnell improved about 15.3% over Clinton’s margin in 2016. Here is a ‘trend’ map of that. Precincts that swung to Parnell by over 15.3% are blue, where precincts that swung to him by a lesser margin are red:
Given much of the talk about Democrats’ improving standing in the suburbs, I was expecting the most-pro-Parnell trends to be in York County, near the Charlotte suburbs. Instead, it was more of a mixed bag. Parnell saw relatively little improvement in blood-red Cherokee County, but also in Fairfield County, which has a heavy black population. In York, it was interesting that Parnell improved the most in rural areas.
Before last night, the ‘high water mark’ for a Democrat in this district was probably Vince Sheheen in the 2010 Governor’s race. That year, Shaheen was a Democratic state legislator from Kershaw County (which is in SC-05) running against then-fellow legislator Nikki Haley, a Republican from Lexington County (which is just outside of this district).
Haley won the 2010 Gubernatorial race by a 51/47 margin, and the result in SC-05 reflected that almost exactly:
Compared to Sheheen, Parnell actually did considerably better in the Charlotte suburbs:
Maybe the takeaway from this is similar to that of GA-06: Democrats have come a long way in many suburban areas since 2010, but there’s still some way to go.