Brown, Timmons to face off in November for US House seat
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Republican voters in South Carolina on Tuesday picked an establishment candidate who spent more than $900,000 of his own money as their choice to replace U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy. William Timmons won the runoff against former state Sen. Lee Bright and will face Democrat Brandon Brown in November.
Timmons picked up a number of endorsements and quiet support. He was a prosecutor and successful businessman, and, as with his state Senate campaign, he paid for nearly the entire race on his own, loaning himself more than $918,000 for the race in the 4th District, which includes Greenville and Spartanburg.
It is one of the most conservative parts of conservative South Carolina. The Republican has received at least 60 percent of the vote in each general election since 2000.
Timmons will take on Greenville businessman Brown, who won the Democratic runoff Tuesday.
Brown also won his party’s nomination in 2004, but received just 29 percent of the vote in the general election, losing to Republican Bob Inglis.
Brown spent just over $16,000 through the June primary and runoff, or less than 2 percent of what Timmons spent.
Bright won the 13-candidate Republican primary on June 12, but received just 25 percent of the vote. Timmons received 19 percent and the more establishment candidates finished second through fourth, well eclipsing Bright’s total.
Timmons said he and Bright have similar ideas about matters important to conservatives such as cutting spending and taxes, and stopping abortions. But Timmons said Bright’s propensity toward less mainstream ideas — such as creating a state currency for South Carolina or passing a law to require people to use the bathrooms of their gender at their birth — would prevent him from being an effective congressman.
“We support the same policies,” Timmons said. “The difference is who has the ability move the ball — who has the ability to change Washington.”
Gowdy, who led a highly partisan panel investigating the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, announced he was not running for a fifth term in January. The former local prosecutor who rose in the U.S. House to be chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee said he wanted a job in the federal justice system instead.