Trump-backed pastor advances to runoff in red state GOP primary to succeed outgoing Rep. Duncan

Mark Burns, an evangelical pastor backed by former President Trump, has advanced to a runoff for Republican nomination for South Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District to replace outgoing Rep. Jeff Duncan.Seven Republicans were vying for the typically Republican seat, but no true frontrunner had emerged ahead of the primary.Ultimately, Trump’s endorsement may provide a boost to get Burns the GOP nomination. WIFE OF SOUTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN FILES FOR DIVORCE, ALLEGES EXTRAMARITAL AFFAIR”Pastor Mark Burns is an America First Fighter, and has my complete and total endorsement – he is a good man, a hard worker, and will not let you down!” Trump said as part of his endorsement of Burns on Truth Social.Trump cited Burns’ positions on border security, upholding the rule of law, the economy and defending “our always under siege Second Amendment.”Burns has touted his positions on the border and pushing back against the “woke” agenda. He had also loudly touted his endorsement by President Trump on his campaign website. A former member of the South Carolina National Guard, Burns set up a church in Easley and has embraced the label by Time Magazine as “Donald Trump’s favorite pastor.”CRUCIAL PRIMARY RACES TO BE DECIDED TUESDAY, SETTING UP FIGHT FOR BALANCE OF POWERDuncan decided not to run again for the seat after seven terms. Duncan’s wife filed for divorce last year, accusing him of several affairs.”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 said in a statement in January.South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster had endorsed nurse practitioner Sheri Biggs, while former Sen. Lindsey Graham staffer Kevin Bishop, state House Rep. Stewart Jones and businessman Franky Franco also put their hats in the ring. The Democratic primary in the 3rd District is between high school science teacher Frances Guldner and Byron Best, who manages a Sherwin Williams paint store in Greenwood.The district is a mostly rural area in the northern and western part of the state. A Democrat has not won the district since Graham flipped the seat in 1994.The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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