COLUMBIA — After voters headed to the polls in document numbers in South Carolina’s U.S. Senate race, the image that emerged appeared largely unchanged from the previous few election cycles, as Democrats struggled to chip into Republican benefits.

Removed from the “New South” that Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison envisioned all through his marketing campaign, shifts weren’t dramatic within the state’s largest counties. In lots of smaller ones Republican incumbent Lindsey Graham really gained floor from his occasion’s 2016 outcomes.

The Senate outcomes tracked nearly identically with the presidential contest. Harrison was solely in a position to outperform his occasion’s top-of-the-ticket nominee Joe Biden by round 19,000 votes, far lower than what his marketing campaign knew he wanted to make the race extra aggressive.

Of the state’s 14 most-populous counties, 12 remained majority Republican, the identical because the 2018 governor’s race and 2016 presidential race. Whereas Harrison was in a position to scale back the margin by a couple of proportion factors from President Donald Trump’s 2016 victory in all of them besides Horry, it was not almost sufficient to chop down Graham’s total lead.

In 15 of the remaining 32 smaller counties, together with Harrison’s native Orangeburg, Graham really outperformed Trump’s 2016 outcomes, persevering with a development round each the state and nation wherein main city cities have turn out to be extra Democratic whereas rural areas have turn out to be more and more Republican.

State GOP Chairman Drew McKissick argued that is as a result of longtime Democrats with conservative-leaning ideologies have grown extra indifferent from the nationwide Democratic Get together, which provides Republicans a chance to choose them up in races that turn out to be largely about nationwide politics, because the U.S. Senate race did.

“What we have seen over the past 20 years is a Democrat Get together that has moved steadily to the left, making it more durable for them to attach with rural conservative Democrats,” McKissick mentioned. “It is not their granddad’s Democrat Get together. It is not their dad’s Democrat Get together. It is not Jimmy Carter’s occasion, Invoice Clinton’s occasion. It is not even Barack Obama’s occasion.”

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S.C. Democratic Get together Chairman Trav Robertson countered that he believed Republicans have been enjoying into racial tensions with promoting messages he mentioned implied that “African Individuals have been going to overhaul your communities.”

“Our opponents have been utilizing a message of concern and coded language to maneuver their voters, and I feel that performed very nicely in rural South Carolina,” Robertson mentioned.

Not like within the neighboring Southern states of Georgia and North Carolina, the most important blue cities in South Carolina don’t take up a big sufficient share of the voters to get better the bottom Democrats are shedding elsewhere across the state.

The longtime Democratic stronghold Richland County, with the state’s capital metropolis of Columbia, and the more and more blue Charleston County, mix to make up lower than 17 % of the state.

That is not sufficient to erase Republican dominance within the Upstate counties of Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson and Pickens, the conservative Charlotte suburbs in York, the coastal retiree communities in Horry, Beaufort and Berkeley, and traditionally conservative areas of the Midlands in Lexington and Aiken.

There have been nonetheless indicators of enchancment for Democrats, notably within the Upstate, as Harrison minimize down GOP leads by 9 proportion factors in Greenville and 10 proportion factors in Spartanburg from 4 years earlier.

However these features are nonetheless relative: Graham received Greenville, the state’s most populous county, by 17 proportion factors, and neighboring Spartanburg by 13 proportion factors.

Attain David Slade at 843-937-5552. Comply with him on Twitter @DSladeNews.

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