When tax lawyer Archie Parnell came within 3 percentage points of winning a special House election in South Carolina's 5th congressional district last year, Democrats entertained serious hopes of picking up the seat in November, in a rematch of Parnell against Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.). Then last month, reporters obtained Parnell's 1974 divorce records and discovered that he had assaulted his ex-wife and threatened her with a metal bar. National and state Democrats disavowed him and wrote off the race, and his entire staff quit, urging Parnell to do the same. He didn't, and he won Tuesday's primary.
"Tonight, the people sent a clear message to everyone," Parnell said in a statement Tuesday night. "You don't have to be defined by your worst mistake. You don't have to be cast aside. You are not alone. You can be better. And, together, we can be better." Analysts attribute his victory to greater name recognition than his three Democratic opponents, one of whom is a literal clown, and lack of a credible challenger. He is expected to lose in November. Peter Weber