South Carolina's 1st congressional district

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South Carolina's 1st congressional district
South Carolina US Congressional District 1 (since 2013).tif
South Carolina's 1st congressional district - since January 3, 2013.
Current Representative Mark Sanford (RCharleston)
Population (2000) 668,668
Median income 40,713
Cook PVI R+10[1]

The 1st Congressional District of South Carolina is a coastal congressional district in South Carolina, represented by Republican Mark Sanford since his election in 2013.

The district has historically been based in Charleston. It has included Myrtle Beach, which became a major tourist destination in the late 20th century, as well as other coastal areas that have attracted retirees and seasonal visitors. From 2003 to 2013, the district boundaries extended from Seabrook Island in the south to the North Carolina border and included parts of Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley and Georgetown counties and all of Horry County to the North Carolina line.

In 2010, the state received another seat in Congressional apportionment due to an increase in population. The state's districts had to be redrawn, which was completed in 2013. In the final plan, the 1st congressional district was redrawn to reach from Hilton Head to mid-coast South Carolina, ending at the Santee River. This configuration is similar to the one it had for most of the 20th century. Horry County was included in the new 7th congressional district.


Following the Civil War and granting of citizenship to former slaves, in 1870, Charleston's population was 53 percent black; and Charleston County had a 73 percent black majority.[2] The city's large population of free people of color had developed many leaders who advanced in the changing society. These population majorities protected freedmen against some of the election-related violence that occurred in other parts of the state in the 1870s as white Democrats worked to suppress black voting and regain political control of the state.[2] During Reconstruction, the mostly black Republicans from this district supported Republican candidates, including four terms for Joseph H. Rainey as US Representative to Congress, a record by an African-American legislator not surpassed until the 1950s.

After the Democrats regained control of the state in 1876, during an election season marked by violence and fraud, and Reconstruction ended in 1877, they passed laws establishing racial segregation and making voter registration and voting more difficult, such as the "eight-box law." African-American George W. Murray finally won in the disputed 1894 congressional election from this district; he challenged the Republican candidate's victory because of election fraud and was upheld by the House Committee on Elections. But passage of a new state constitution by Democrats in 1895 effectively disfranchised most African-American citizens in 1896. Their participation in the political system was ended for seven decades. The white Democrats established a one-party state and used various devices to maintain the exclusion of blacks until after passage of federal civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s.

Party realignments in the late 20th century resulted in many new black voters supporting the national Democratic Party, which supported their fight for civil rights. White conservatives in the South shifted and joined the Republican Party, in 1980 electing the first Republican congressman from the state to be elected in the 20th century. Since the buildup of the military in this region, especially the Navy, the area's white voters have supported conservative candidates.

Given the crippling of the Republican Party by the disfranchisement of blacks, a Republican was not elected to a full term in this district in the 20th century until 1980, when Tommy Hartnett was swept in by Reagan's coattails. But, his election represented a different party and was the result of a major realignment of white conservative voters in the late 20th century to the Republican, rather than the Democratic Party. Starting with national candidates in the late 1960s and 1970s, white voters in South Carolina began to shift to the Republican Party.

As after every decennial census, the state legislature conducted redistricting after the 1990 census. The white Republican-controlled legislature shifted most of Charleston's African-American majority areas into South Carolina's 6th Congressional District, creating a majority-minority district. To make up for the loss of population, the 1st was extended all the way up the Atlantic coast to Myrtle Beach.

Since that time, the 1st Congressional District has had a majority-white population. But, in 2008, with the appeal of the Barack Obama presidential campaign, Democrat Linda Ketner came within two points of winning the 1st district congressional seat. In the following off-year election of 2010, Republican Tim Scott, a conservative African American, won the seat with 65 percent of the vote.

During the 2018 South Carolina primaries on June 12, 2018, Mark Sanford lost re-nomination to the seat.

2013 special election[edit]

As noted, Tim Scott, a Republican from North Charleston, was elected as the 1st district's representative in 2010. He was appointed by the governor to the United States Senate after Jim DeMint resigned on January 1, 2013.

The district boundaries had been redrawn in 2011. A special election was held on May 7, 2013 to determine the district's Representative to the US House to fill the new vacancy. In a Primary Election held on March 19, 2013, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, won the Democratic nomination. Former Governor Mark Sanford, who represented the district from 1995 to 2001, and former Charleston County Councilman Curtis Eilliott Bostic faced each other in a runoff Primary for the Republican nomination on April 2, 2013. Sanford won the nomination, and defeated challengers Colbert-Busch and South Carolina Green Party candidate Eugene Platt in the special election on May 7.

List of representatives[edit]

Name Years Party Electoral history
WilliamLoughtonSmith.jpg William L. Smith March 4, 1789 –
March 3, 1795
Pro-Administration Resigned to become U.S. Minister to Portugal
March 4, 1795 –
July 10, 1797
Vacant July 10, 1797 –
November 23, 1797
Thomas Pinckney.jpg Thomas Pinckney November 23, 1797 –
March 3, 1801
Federalist First elected to finish Smith's term
[Data unknown/missing.]
Thomas Lowndes-congressman.jpg Thomas Lowndes March 4, 1801 –
March 3, 1805
Federalist [Data unknown/missing.]
Robert Marion March 4, 1805 –
December 4, 1810
Democratic-Republican Resigned
Vacant December 4, 1810 –
December 31, 1810
LangdonCheves.jpg Langdon Cheves December 31, 1810 –
March 3, 1815
Democratic-Republican [Data unknown/missing.]
Henry-middleton.jpg Henry Middleton March 4, 1815 –
March 3, 1819
Democratic-Republican [Data unknown/missing.]
Charles Pinckney.jpg Charles Pinckney March 4, 1819 –
March 3, 1821
Democratic-Republican [Data unknown/missing.]
JRP-SoW, S.jpg Joel R. Poinsett March 4, 1821 –
March 3, 1823
Democratic-Republican Resigned to become U.S. Minister to Mexico
March 4, 1823 –
March 3, 1825
Jacksonian D-R
March 4, 1825 –
March 7, 1825
Vacant March 7, 1825 –
May 17, 1825
Colonel William Drayton by Morse, 1818.jpg William Drayton May 17, 1825 –
March 3, 1833
Jacksonian [Data unknown/missing.]
Henry L. Pinckney March 4, 1833 –
March 3, 1837
Nullifier [Data unknown/missing.]
Hugh S. Legaré.jpg Hugh S. Legaré March 4, 1837 –
March 3, 1839
Democratic [Data unknown/missing.]
Isaac E. Holmes March 4, 1839 –
March 3, 1843
Democratic Redistricted to the 6th district
James A. Black March 4, 1843 –
April 3, 1848
Democratic Died
Vacant April 3, 1848 –
June 12, 1848
The Honorable Daniel Wallace, Congressman from South Carolina.jpg Daniel Wallace June 12, 1848 –
March 3, 1853
Democratic [Data unknown/missing.]
JohnMcQueen.jpg John McQueen March 4, 1853 –
December 21, 1860
Democratic Redistricted from the 4th district

Civil War and Reconstruction December 21, 1860 –
July 18, 1868
BenjaminFWhittemore.jpg Benjamin F. Whittemore July 18, 1868 –
February 24, 1870
Republican Resigned
Vacant February 24, 1870 –
December 12, 1870
Joseph Rainey - Brady-Handy.jpg Joseph H. Rainey December 12, 1870 –
March 3, 1879
Republican Elected to four terms, establishing a record for service by a black congressman not surpassed until the 1950s. Lost election, 1878
JohnSRichardson.jpg John S. Richardson March 4, 1879 –
March 3, 1883
Democratic [Data unknown/missing.]
Samuel Dibble.jpg Samuel Dibble March 4, 1883 –
March 3, 1891
Democratic [Data unknown/missing.]
Brawley.PNG William H. Brawley March 4, 1891 –
February 12, 1894
Democratic Resigned to become U.S. District Judge
Vacant February 12, 1894 –
April 12, 1894
James F. Izlar April 12, 1894 –
March 3, 1895
Democratic [Data unknown/missing.]
William Elliott.jpeg William Elliott March 4, 1895 –
June 4, 1896
Democratic Lost contested election
George Washington Murray.jpg George W. Murray June 4, 1896 –
March 3, 1897
Republican Won contested election
William Elliott.jpeg William Elliott March 4, 1897 –
March 3, 1903
Democratic [Data unknown/missing.]
George Swinton Legaré (South Carolina Congressman).jpg George S. Legaré March 4, 1903 –
January 31, 1913
Democratic Died
Vacant January 31, 1913 –
April 29, 1913
RichardSWhaley.jpg Richard S. Whaley April 29, 1913 –
March 3, 1921
Democratic [Data unknown/missing.]
W. Turner Logan March 4, 1921 –
March 3, 1925
Democratic [Data unknown/missing.]
Thomas McMillan portrait.jpg Thomas S. McMillan March 4, 1925 –
September 29, 1939
Democratic Died
Vacant September 29, 1939 –
November 7, 1939
Clara McMillan.jpg Clara Gooding McMillan November 7, 1939 –
January 3, 1941
Democratic Elected to finish her husband's term
L Mendell Rivers.jpg L. Mendel Rivers January 3, 1941 –
December 28, 1970
Democratic Died
Vacant December 28, 1970 –
April 27, 1971
Mendel Jackson Davis.jpg Mendel Jackson Davis April 27, 1971 –
January 3, 1981
Democratic Retired for health reasons
Thomas Hartnett.jpg Thomas Hartnett January 3, 1981 –
January 3, 1987
Republican Retired to run for Lieutenant Governor
Arthur Ravenel Jr.jpg Arthur Ravenel, Jr. January 3, 1987 –
January 3, 1995
Republican Retired to run for Governor
MarkSanford.jpg Mark Sanford January 3, 1995 –
January 3, 2001
Republican Retired to run for Governor
Henryebrownjr.jpg Henry Brown January 3, 2001 –
January 3, 2011
Republican Retired
Tim Scott, official portrait, 112th Congress crop.jpg Tim Scott January 3, 2011 –
January 2, 2013
Republican First elected in 2010
Re-elected in 2012, but resigned when appointed to the United States Senate
Vacant January 2, 2013 –
May 7, 2013
Mark Sanford, Official Portrait, 113th Congress.jpg Mark Sanford May 7, 2013 –
Republican Elected to finish Scott's term

Lost re-nomination

Historical district boundaries[edit]

1995 - 2013

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Partisan Voting Index – Districts of the 115th Congress" (PDF). The Cook Political Report. April 7, 2017. Retrieved April 7, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Melinda Meeks Hennessy, “Racial Violence During Reconstruction: The 1876 Riots in Charleston and Cainhoy”, South Carolina Historical Magazine, Vol. 86, No. 2, (April 1985), 104-106 (subscription required)

Coordinates: 33°24′N 79°13′W / 33.40°N 79.22°W / 33.40; -79.22