The South Carolina Special

Gov. Mark Sanford (R)

Gov. Mark Sanford (R)

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has scheduled the special election to replace senator-designee Tim Scott (R-SC-1) in the House as he moves to the Senate to replace resigned Sen. Jim DeMint (R).

The 1st Congressional District party primaries will occur on March 19, with a run-off on April 2 should no candidate receive a majority vote. The special general election will then follow on May 7.

The now vacant CD-1 includes most of what is commonly referred to as South Carolina’s “Low Country.” It contains part of the city of Charleston and the Sea Islands, located along the way to the Georgia border, picking up the Mt. Pleasant, Beaufort and Hilton Head communities. The seat is heavily Republican (Rep. Scott won a 62.4 percent first re-election victory as compared to Mitt Romney’s statewide 54.6 percent, for example), so much so that the GOP primary and subsequent run-off election will likely be the deciding factor.

Former Gov. Mark Sanford (R), who represented this district in the House before running statewide, somewhat surprisingly is a likely candidate. He is quoted as saying that he is “90 percent sure” that he will run. It is unclear how strong he will be considering his ill-fated fall from grace due to his international extra-marital affair that drew world-wide media attention.

Newly elected state Sen. Paul Thurmond (R), son of the Sen. Strom Thurmond (R) and a former 1st District congressional candidate, says he will not enter the special election.

NOTES: Primary Challenge in Tennessee’s 4th CD

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-4), who won a 55.8 percent re-election despite a number of extra-marital affairs becoming public very late in the 2012 cycle, has already drawn a strong 2014 GOP primary opponent. State Sen. Jim Tracy, who ran in the 6th Congressional District back in 2010, losing a tight and bitterly contested primary to current Rep. Diane Black (R), says he will run in District 4 next year.

That year, the 6th CD primary was the closest three-way primary in the United States. Black scored 30.5 percent, Republican Party official Lou Ann Zelnick garnered 30.1 percent, and Tracy notched 29.8 percent. All three candidates were separated by just 566 votes.

Most of Sen. Tracy’s home territory is now in District 4, purposely placed there in redistricting to dissuade any thoughts of another challenge to Black. Therefore, the veteran state legislator does have a political base from which to launch his campaign against what will likely be a weakened sophomore incumbent.

Expect this to be a seriously contested Republican primary in August of 2014.

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