South Carolina’s three Upstate congressmen are cruising unchallenged through primary season and saving their six-figure campaign accounts for the general election this fall, new financial records show.
The reports by GOP Reps. Trey Gowdy, Jeff Duncan and Mick Mulvaney show the power of incumbency, with a steady flow of donations from individuals and political action committees over the last three months and no need for big expenditures. All three conservatives are running for their third terms.
Gowdy, R-Spartanburg, leads the trio with more than $346,000 as of March 31. He has a Libertarian challenger in November, Curtis McLaughlin.
Most of the $32,000 that Gowdy raised in last three months came from PACs, including those affiliated with Wal-Mart, Boeing, Koch Industries and General Electric.
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Gowdy, known for his animated interrogations of congressional witnesses on issues such as Benghazi and IRS treatment of conservative organizations, used his account to make donations to other candidates and causes.
He gave $350 to the Carolina Pregnancy Center in Spartanburg, for example, and $50,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Gowdy’s campaign also donated money this year to five other Republican congressional candidates in other states.
Mulvaney, R-Indian Land, reported having $310,000 on March 31.
Most of the money Mulvaney raised in the first quarter came from PACs in the insurance, real estate and banking industries that tend to support him and other members of the House Financial Services Committee. He also accepted $1,500 from the National Rifle Association of America PAC, for a $2,500 total in the two-year cycle.
Mulvaney also received money from individual donors, including $1,000 from Donald Trump, CEO of Trump Enterprises, and more than $10,000 from executives of the Tucker Lumber Co. in Pageland.
Mulvaney still carries $138,600 in debt from personal loans he made to the campaign in 2009 and 2010. His Democratic opponent in November is Tom Adams, who reported $4,400 as of March 31.
Rep. Jeff Duncan, who has focused most recently on expanding offshore oil drilling and cutting waste at the Department of Homeland Security, had $153,000 at the end of the first quarter.
His donors include Smyth McKissick, CEO of Alice Manufacturing in Greenville ($2,600), and Ben Davis, CEO of Connie Maxwell’s Children’s Home in Greenwood ($250).
PACs that gave to Duncan’s campaign include those affiliated with Duke Energy Corp., the NRA, Koch Industries, BP and Phillips 66.
The Laurens Republican also donated $250 to Anderson Care Pregnancy Clinic in Anderson and $200 to Piedmont Women’s Center in Taylors.
Two Democrats are competing in the June 10 primary to challenge Duncan in the fall: Hosea Cleveland and Barbara Jo Mullis, according to the South Carolina Election Commission.