Haley, Graham, Clyburn Face S.C. Primary Challenges

Haley, Graham, Clyburn Face S.C. Primary Challenges
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Following Sunday's filing deadline in South Carolina, several top Palmetto State Republicans -- including Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Rep. James Clyburn, and Rep. Joe Wilson -- will officially face primary challengers this June.

Graham has six opponents in the GOP primary, likely ensuring that no conservative competitor will initially be able to consolidate support against him. Taking on the two-term lawmaker are: state Sen. Lee Bright; businesspeople Richard Cash and Nancy Mace; and pastor Det Bowers, along with attorneys Bill Connor and Benjamin Dunn. While polling consistently shows Graham finishing first in his primary, his real challenge will be reaching the 50 percent threshold to avoid a runoff election in which the conservative wing of his party will have a better chance of uniting against him.

Challenging first-term Gov. Haley in the Republican primary is Judge Tom Ervin. Whoever prevails in that contest will face libertarian Steve French, United Citizens candidate Morgan Bruce Reeves, and Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen this fall.

Assistant House Minority Leader Clyburn, who has served in the House since 1993, is facing a Democratic primary challenge from Karen Smith. Rep. Joe Wilson, who is pursuing his eighth term, must beat Eddie McCain in his primary.

Rep. Mark Sanford, who defeated Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch in a special election last year, is the only South Carolina congressman running unopposed in the primary and general elections. Sanford previously served as governor and was mulling a presidential bid, but an affair that ended his 21-year marriage also derailed his national ambitions.

The South Carolina primary will be held June 10. 

Adam O'Neal is a political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at aoneal@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearAdam.

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