Legislative Lowdown: Identifying competitive South Carolina elections in 2014
Margin of victory
|Other 2014 Election coverage|
State legislatures • U.S. House • U.S. Senate
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
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|
|Other 2014 Election coverage|
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.
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|
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|
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.
Two major party candidates will face off in the general election in 30 (24.2%) of the 124 districts up for election.
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. The state representatives facing primary competition are:
- District 1: Incumbent Davey Hiott will face Michelle Wiles in the Republican primary.
- District 8: Incumbent Don Bowen will face Jonathon Hill in the Republican primary.
- District 17: Incumbent Mike Burns will face Joshua Cook in the Republican primary.
- District 18: Incumbent Tommy Stringer will face Valerie Wade in the Republican primary.
- District 20: Incumbent Dan Hamilton will face Justin Alexander in the Republican primary.
- District 21: Incumbent Phyllis Henderson will face Steve Mauriello in the Republican primary.
- District 24: Incumbent Bruce Bannister will face Bang Hall and Gary Titcomb in the Republican primary.
- District 34: Incumbent Mike Forrester will face Gaye Holt in the Republican primary.
- District 37: Incumbent Donna Wood will face Heather Wood in the Republican primary.
- District 41: Incumbent MaryGail Douglas will face William Budda Killian in the Democratic primary.
- District 50: Incumbent Grady Brown will face Brian Alston in the Democratic primary.
- District 56: Incumbent Mike Ryhal will face Dennis DiSabato in the Republican primary.
- District 59: Incumbent Terry Alexander will face Alexis Pipkins, Sr. in the Democratic primary.
- District 64: Incumbent Robert L. Ridgeway, III will face Willie Bethune in the Democratic primary.
- District 79: Incumbent Mia McLeod will face Vannie Williams, Jr. in the Democratic primary.
- District 94: Incumbent Jenny Horne will face Evan Guthrie and Franklin Smith in the Republican primary.
- District 96: Incumbent Lawrence Kit Spires will face Perry Finch in the Republican primary.
- District 98: Incumbent Chris Murphy will face Larry Hargett in the Republican primary.
- District 104: Incumbent Tracy Edge will face Greg Duckworth in the Republican primary.
- District 110: Incumbent Harry Limehouse will face Russell Guerard in the Republican primary.
- District 122: Incumbent William Bowers will face Curtis Brantley in the Democratic primary.
There are nine incumbent representatives who are not running for re-election, while 115 (92.7%) are running for re-election. The following table lists all incumbents, four Democrats and five Republicans, who are not running for re-election.
|B.R. Skelton||Republican||Senate District 03|
|Phillip Owens||Republican||Senate District 05|
|Ted Vick||Democratic||Senate District 53|
|Elizabeth Munnerlyn||Democratic||Senate District 54|
|Liston Barfield||Republican||Senate District 58|
|Lester Branham, Jr.||Democratic||Senate District 61|
|James Smith||Republican||Senate District 84|
|Bakari Sellers||Democratic||Senate District 90|
|Andy Patrick||Republican||Senate District 123|
- South Carolina elections, 2014
- State legislative elections, 2014
- South Carolina House of Representatives elections, 2014