Joe Cunningham pulls off upset, wins close race against Trump-backed Arrington

Adds second Democrat to S.C. delegation

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Democrat Joe Cunningham will be the new congressman for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District.

After some of the final votes from Beaufort County rolled in, the Associated Press called the race for Cunningham around 2 a.m. as he kept his lead of around 3,200 votes.

The seat was up for grabs after incumbent Congressman Mark Sanford drew the ire of President Donald Trump as one of a few incumbents who failed to fall in line behind a bully president who threatened to unseat noncompliant Republicans. The president was true to his word, finding a suitable surrogate in freshman state Rep. Katie Arrington, who gave up her seat in the state House and successfully challenged Sanford with the help of a last-minute tweet from the president.



Last week, Sanford summed up his loss saying that he "wasn't Trump enough in the time of Trump."
Cunningham’s victory was not closely tracked by national election watchers, but the feeling around the race over the past few weeks made it seem like it could be close. The win gives South Carolina Democrats a second seat in the state delegation, and is the first flip by Dems in the state since 1986, according to AP analysis.

As of 2:20 a.m., the South Carolina Election Commission reported 268,601 votes cast with Cunningham earning 50.56 percent of the vote while Arrington drew 49.25 percent.

If those figures hold, Cunningham would secure the seat without the mandatory recount triggered if the margin of victory is less than one percent.

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