Politics

GOP Runoff Victors Are Likely New Members of Congress

Mississippi’s Michael Guest and South Carolina’s William Timmons win comfortably

District Attorney Michael Guest won the GOP nomination in the runoff for Mississippi's 3rd District on Tuesday. (Courtesy of Friends of Michael Guest)

With victories in primary runoffs in Mississippi and South Carolina on Tuesday night, a pair of Republicans are likely heading to Congress next year. 

Michael Guest has won the Republican primary runoff in Mississippi’s open 3rd District, which GOP incumbent Gregg Harper is retiring after five terms.

With 42 percent of precincts reporting, Guest, the district attorney for Madison and Rankin counties, led former health care executive Whit Hughes, 70 percent to 30 percent when The Associated Press called the race.

Guest finished ahead of Hughes in a six-way GOP primary earlier this month, but neither crossed the 50-percent threshold to avoid a runoff.

Guest ran with backing from Harper, and after the runoff, he picked up the endorsement of Gov. Phil Bryant. Hughes, a former Mississippi State University basketball star, ran with the support of the Tea Party Express.

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South Carolina’s 4th District

State Sen. William Timmons won the Republican primary runoff in South Carolina’s open 4th District on Tuesday night.

His victory is a win for the more mainstream wing of the GOP, which backed him in what became a battle between dueling Republican factions.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Timmons finished with 54 percent of the vote to 46 percent for former state Sen. Lee Bright, when the AP called the race.

Republican incumbent Trey Gowdy is not seeking re-election to this safe Republican Spartanburg-area seat.

Bright finished ahead of Timmons in the primary earlier this month, but they were forced into a runoff since neither earned more than 50 percent of the vote in a 13-candidate field.

Club for Growth PAC backed Bright, who had waged an unsuccessful primary challenge to Sen. Lindsey Graham in 2014. The former state legislator also had the support of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and conservative Reps. Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Steve King of Iowa.

Timmons ran with the support of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and the nonprofit group Conservative Leadership Alliance.

Timmons will be a heavy fall favorite against Brandon Brown, who won the Democratic runoff Tuesday, in a district President Donald Trump carried by 26 points in 2016.  

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