South Carolina’s 3rd District GOP Race Heads to Runoff Between Burns and Biggs


The race to replace Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) as the Republican nominee in South Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District will proceed to a runoff after none of the seven GOP candidates secured a majority of the vote in Tuesday’s election.

The Associated Press announced at 9:16 p.m. after polls closed at 7 p.m. that Trump-endorsed pastor Mark Burns and nurse Sheri Biggs advanced to a June 25 runoff.

With 76% of the ballots counted, Burns led with 31.5% of the vote, followed by Biggs at 29.5% and state Rep. Stewart Jones at 19.5%.

The candidates are aiming to replace Duncan, who declared earlier this year his retirement from Congress and would not seek an eighth term. His departure leaves the reliably red district that borders northeast Georgia open for the first time in over a decade, and the Republican nominee is expected to win the November general election easily.

The last time a Democrat won in the district was before now-Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) flipped the seat in 1994 during a nationwide Republican surge. Graham defeated Democratic State Sen. James Bryan Jr. to succeed retiring longtime Rep. Butler Derrick (D-SC), making him the first Republican to hold the seat since 1877.

Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., attends a session at the COP28 U.N. Climate Summit, Dec. 9, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Duncan announced Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024 he is not running for reelection to an eighth term. (AP Photo/Joshua A. Bickel, file)

“At some point in a career, one needs to step aside and allow others to bring fresh ideas and abilities into the fight for liberty,” Duncan stated in his retirement announcement.

He faced controversy last year when his wife filed for divorce, accusing Duncan of infidelity and leaving her for a lobbyist, claims contradicting his public portrayal of conservative family values. In 2023, Duncan responded with a social media statement saying his family was “dealing with a difficult and private moment,” and declined further comment.

“My focus is fighting on behalf of the people of South Carolina’s 3rd District,” he stated at the time, referencing a potential government shutdown. “I am proud to have one of the most conservative voting records in all of Congress, and that is the approach I will continue taking on behalf of my constituents to fight back against this fiscal insanity.”

Former President Donald Trump endorsed Burns, a longtime ally, in April. Burns previously ran for the state’s 4th House District in 2022 but lost to Rep. William Timmons (R-SC).

“There are many great Conservatives exploring a run for that seat, but Mark Burns has been with me from the very beginning of our Movement to Make America Great Again,” Trump posted on Truth Social.

Ramsey Touchberry
Ramsey Touchberry
Ramsey Touchberry is a Capitol Hill Reporter focusing on energy and environment. Previously, Ramsey covered Congress for Newsweek and was a multimedia reporter at a local NPR and PBS affiliate in Florida. A native of the Sunshine State, Ramsey graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in broadcast and digital journalism.

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