Legislative Lowdown: Identifying competitive South Carolina elections in 2014

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April 16, 2014

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2014 South Carolina Legislative Lowdown

Table of Contents
Majority control
Margin of victory

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By Ballotpedia's State legislative team

March 30 was the signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run for South Carolina House of Representatives. Elections in all 124 House districts will consist of a primary election on June 10, 2014, and a general election on November 4, 2014. The South Carolina State Senate will not hold elections this year.

Looking at the current partisan breakdown in the South Carolina House, because there will be very few actual general elections, the election should be unremarkable. Two races in particular should be interesting to watch, as the seats were won by a margin of victory of less than 5 percent in 2012. The primaries may prove more eventful, featuring seven challengers from 2012 seeking office again, one challenger from 2010 and Curtis Brantley (D), the former District 122 incumbent who was defeated in the 2012 Democratic primary.

See also: 2014's state legislative elections and South Carolina House of Representatives elections, 2014

Majority control

Heading into the November 4 election, the Republican Party holds the majority in both state legislative chambers. South Carolina's office of Governor is held by Nikki Haley (R), making the state one of 23 with a Republican state government trifecta.

The difference in partisan composition between Democrats and Republicans in the House is 32 seats, or 25.8 percent of the chamber. There are 30 districts where two major party candidates will face off in the general election.

South Carolina House of Representatives
Party As of November 3, 2014 After November 4, 2014
     Democratic Party 46 46
     Republican Party 78 77
     Vacant 0 1
Total 124 124
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Margin of victory


All 124 seats in the House were up for election in 2012. Two of those districts held competitive elections with a margin of victory ranging from 0 to 5 percent. There were 97 districts where only one major party candidate appeared on the general election ballot.[1]

The districts with elections in 2014 which held competitive elections in 2012 are:


  • District 53: Amy Brown will face Anthony Waymyers in the Democratic primary. Denny Neilson will face Richie Yow in the Republican primary. The winners of each primary will face each other in the general election. Ted Vick (D) won the general election by a margin of victory of 4 percent in 2012.
  • District 75: Incumbent Kirkman Finlay, III (R) will face Joe McCulloch (D) in the general election. Finlay won the general election by a margin of victory of 2 percent in 2012.


Using the official candidate lists from each state, Ballotpedia staff analyzes each district's election to look at the following circumstances:

  • Is the incumbent running for re-election?
  • If an incumbent is running, do they face a primary challenger?
  • Are both major parties represented on the general election ballot?

In South Carolina's 2014 elections, those circumstances break down as follows:

  • There are 9 open seats (7.2%) in the House.
  • A total of 21 incumbents (16.9%) face a primary challenger.
  • Just 30 districts (24.2%) will feature a Democratic and Republican candidate on the general election ballot.

The following table puts the 2014 data into historical context. Overall index is calculated as the average of the three circumstances.

Comparing South Carolina Competitiveness over the Years
Year  % Incs retiring  % incs rank  % Incs facing primary  % Incs primary rank  % seats with 2 MPC  % seats with 2 MPC rank Overall Index Overall Index Rank
2010 8.9% 38 23.0% 14 29.8% 46 20.6 41
2012 14.1% 32 25.0% 22 30.0% 41 23.0 42
2014 7.2% Pending 16.9% Pending 24.2% Pending 16.1 Pending


The following table details competitiveness in the South Carolina House of Representatives.

South Carolina House Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
7.2% 16.9% 24.2% 16.1

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 94 (75.8%) of the 124 districts up for election in 2014, there is only one major party candidate running for election. A total of 62 Republicans and 32 Democrats are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances.[2]

Two major party candidates will face off in the general election in 30 (24.2%) of the 124 districts up for election.

Primary challenges

A total of 21 incumbents will face primary competition on June 10. Nine incumbents are not seeking re-election in 2014 and another 94 incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition.[2] The state representatives facing primary competition are:

Retiring incumbents

There are nine incumbent representatives who are not running for re-election, while 115 (92.7%) are running for re-election.[2] The following table lists all incumbents, four Democrats and five Republicans, who are not running for re-election.

Name Party Current Office
B.R. Skelton Ends.png Republican Senate District 03
Phillip Owens Ends.png Republican Senate District 05
Ted Vick Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 53
Elizabeth Munnerlyn Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 54
Liston Barfield Ends.png Republican Senate District 58
Lester Branham, Jr. Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 61
James Smith Ends.png Republican Senate District 84
Bakari Sellers Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 90
Andy Patrick Ends.png Republican Senate District 123

See also

External links