ONE-ON-ONE: USC professor highlights key races on SC ballots

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Early voting continues until Saturday ahead of Tuesday’s Election Day.

But which races do experts predict will be the closest here in South Carolina?

“It’s going to be an interesting week,” said University of South Carolina professor Bob Oldendick.

However, the USC professor does not expect the governor race to be interesting. He predicts Henry McMaster to win re-election and beat challenger Joe Cunningham.

“I think the base is too large to overcome. I’ve said for the last 15 years that South Carolina is a 55 to 45 state,” Oldendick said. “That means that what we expect in a statewide election is Democrats only getting 45 percent of the vote.”

He also expects Republicans to win 6 of the 7 Congressional seats, with Jim Clyburn being the lone Democrat going into Election Day as favorite. 

“Jim Clyburn’s seat is one of the safest seats of the 435 in Congress and it’s the same thing with Joe Wilson,” Oldendick said. “He’s a long-time incumbent that understands his district. His votes are pretty much a reflection of how people in the district want him to vote.”

Nationwide, he believes Republicans will flip some seats. 

“The president’s party almost always loses seats. It’s been that way since 1934,” Oldendick said. “Given historical trends, I imagine the Republicans will gain control of the House of Representatives.”

In the state legislature, the professor thinks there will be a few changes but not many. 

“Republicans may pick up a couple of seats in the House or Senate at the state level,” Oldendick predicts. “I don’t think it will be enough to change the abortion vote.”

As for the closest race, Oldendick says that will be between the two candidates for the state superintendent of education. Republican Ellen Weaver faces Democrat Lisa Ellis to replace outgoing state superintendent of education Molly Spearman. 

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