While all of America had its eyes set on the special election in Georgia Tuesday, a race for a U.S. House seat in South Carolina proved to be a surprisingly close result for the Democratic Party.
Democrat Archie Parnell lost by just 3 percentage points on Tuesday, taking in 48 percent of the vote in a heavily red district. Republican Ralph Norman won the seat formerly held by Mick Mulvaney, the current director of the Office of Management and Budget.
About four hours by car from Atlanta, South Carolina's fifth congressional district was not considered a competitive race for Democrats. After the 2010 election, the district was gerrymandered to favor Republicans. President Donald Trump won the district in November with ease and Mulvaney had held onto his seat since 2011.
The district is dramatized in the Netflix series, "House of Cards," where lead character Frank Underwood calls home.
Parnell, 66, a former Goldman Sachs executive, ran his campaign on fixing the Affordable Care Act, as opposed to repealing and replacing it with GOP-conceived legislation. A tax attorney who also at one point worked for Exxon Mobile, Parnell argued that his expertise would allow him to crack down on corporations avoiding the payment of federal taxes.
Relative success for Democratic candidates in the Kansas and Montana special elections had raised expectations for Democrats in South Carolina.
“If we can replicate that swing here, Archie will win,” Parnell's campaign manager, Daniel Barash, told the Huffington Post in May. “And Archie is talking about taxes, prescription drugs, Social Security, which are important to Democrats, independents and Republicans in this community.”