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South Carolina Republicans Will Have to Ride the Bench

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
South Carolina Democrats strongly pushed back against any talk of retirement for Clyburn.

If an open Senate seat does materialize one day, a handful of ambitious Republicans are expected to give the race a look. From within the delegation, South Carolina Republicans bet that Reps. Mick Mulvaney, Jeff Duncan and Mark Sanford would all seriously consider a run. Beyond the House, Republicans said state Sen. Tom Davis, state Treasurer Curtis Loftis and state Attorney General Alan Wilson (son of 2nd District Rep. Joe Wilson) have Senate potential.

The Republican House delegation is largely new ó all but Wilson were elected to office in 2010 or later. If a vacancy occurs in the near future, it will be unexpected.

Still, GOP operatives said state Sens. Larry Grooms, Paul Thurmond and Davis would be contenders if Sanford ever left office. Thurmond, the son of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, lost to Scott in the open 1st District primary in 2010. Likewise, Grooms unsuccessfully challenged Sanford for the GOP nomination in that districtís 2013 special.

Loftis is a possible successor to Joe Wilsonís 2nd District, and state Sen. Shane Massey could one day succeed Duncan in the 3rd District.

If Mulvaney left or ran for higher office, state Reps. Tommy Pope and Ralph Norman are potential 5th District contenders. Pope achieved national fame in the mid-1990s when he prosecuted Susan Smith, a South Carolina woman who was convicted in 1995 of drowning her two children.

Farm Team is a weekly state-by-state look at the up-and-coming politicos who may eventually run for Congress.

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