Trump-Endorsed Pastor Secures GOP Primary Spot

( – Two South Carolina Republicans will face off on June 25 after each received less than 50 percent of the vote during the state’s primary election on June 11.

In a crowded race between seven candidates for the 3rd Congressional District, Trump-endorsed candidate Mark Burns received 33.2 percent of the vote. Sheri Biggs, endorsed by South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, captured 28.8 percent of the vote. Burns is a pastor and once served in the state’s National Guard. He started a church in the town of Easley and proudly accepted the media’s labeling of him as “Donald Trump’s favorite pastor.” He previously lost twice in South Carolina’s 4th Congressional District.

Biggs, who has never run for political office, is a nurse practitioner and friend of McMaster. His endorsement prompted voters to label her as the establishment candidate, although she has denied the accusation. She is also a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard. Local media outlets wrongly speculated that Biggs and South Carolina Republican State Rep. Stewart Jones would be the two runoff contenders based on their high-dollar fundraising. However, it appears that Trump’s endorsement is more valuable to voters than money.

The winner of the runoff will face Democrat Byron Best in the November general election. However, the seat has remained solidly Republican since 1994 when then-candidate Lindsay Graham flipped it from Democratic control. Burns boasted his success in the primary, telling one media outlet that “we the people have spoken pretty loud and clear,” referring to their support of Trump’s MAGA agenda.

Rep. Jeff Duncan has held the seat since 2010, but he announced his retirement from Congress in January. In a statement, Duncan claimed that he was retiring to allow new representation from the district, but personal issues could have also been a determinative factor in his decision not to seek reelection. In 2023, his wife accused him of multiple affairs in her divorce filing.

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