South Carolina's 1st Congressional District
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South Carolina's 1st Congressional District
South Carolina's 1st congressional district
South Carolina US Congressional District 1 (since 2013).tif
South Carolina's 1st congressional district - since January 3, 2019.
Population (2000)668,668
Median income$66,337[1]
Cook PVIR+10

The 1st Congressional District of South Carolina is a coastal congressional district in South Carolina, represented by Democrat Joe Cunningham since January 3, 2019. He succeeded Republican Mark Sanford, who was defeated by Katie Arrington in the Republican primary.

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 1993 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 and comprising parts of Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester and Beaufort counties. 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.

Election results from presidential races

Year Result
2004 George W. Bush 61 - 39%
2008 John McCain 56.1 - 42.7%
2012 Mitt Romney 58.3 - 40.2%
2016 Donald Trump 53.5 - 40.4%


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. 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. The 2010 redistricting cut the district back to the southeastern corner of the state.

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. The Republicans would go on to lose the seat to the Democrats after the district swung heavily to the Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections.

2013 special election

As noted, Tim Scott, a Republican from North Charleston, was elected as the 1st district's representative in 2010. He was appointed by Governor Nikki Haley 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.

Cunningham is the first Democrat to represent the district since the 1980s.

List of members representing the district

Member Party Years Electoral history Location
William L. Smith
Pro-Administration March 4, 1789 -
March 3, 1795
Elected in 1788.
Re-elected in 1790.
Re-elected in 1793.
Re-elected in 1794.
Re-elected in 1796.
Resigned to become U.S. Minister to Portugal.
"Charleston Division"
South Carolina Congressional Districts, 1789-1793
  1st District, Charleston
  2nd District, Beaufort-Orangeburg
  3rd District, Georgetown-Cheraw
  4th District, Camden
  5th District, Ninety-Six
"Charleston District"
Federalist March 4, 1795 -
July 10, 1797
Vacant July 10, 1797 -
November 23, 1797
Thomas Pinckney.jpg
Thomas Pinckney
Federalist November 23, 1797 -
March 3, 1801
Elected to finish Smith's term.
Re-elected in 1798.
Thomas Lowndes-congressman.jpg
Thomas Lowndes
Federalist March 4, 1801 -
March 3, 1803
Elected in 1800.
Re-elected in 1803.
Robert Marion Democratic-Republican March 4, 1805 -
December 4, 1810
Elected in 1804.
Re-elected in 1806.
Re-elected in 1808.
Retired and then resigned.
Vacant December 4, 1810 -
December 31, 1810
Langdon Cheves
Democratic-Republican December 31, 1810 -
March 3, 1815
Elected in 1810.
Later elected to finish Marion's term and seated January 24, 1811.
Re-elected in 1812.
Henry Middleton
Democratic-Republican March 4, 1815 -
March 3, 1819
Elected in 1814.
Re-elected in 1816.
Charles Pinckney.jpg
Charles Pinckney
Democratic-Republican March 4, 1819 -
March 3, 1821
Elected in 1818.
JRP-SoW, S.jpg
Joel R. Poinsett
Democratic-Republican March 4, 1821 -
March 3, 1823
Re-elected in 1820.
Re-elected in 1823.
Re-elected in 1824.
Resigned to become U.S. Minister to Mexico.
Jackson Democratic-Republican March 4, 1823 -
March 3, 1825
Jacksonian March 4, 1825 -
March 7, 1825
Vacant March 7, 1825 -
May 17, 1825
Colonel William Drayton by Morse, 1818.jpg
William Drayton
Jacksonian May 17, 1825 -
March 3, 1833
Elected May 16, 1825 to finish Poinsett's term and seated December 5, 1825.
Re-elected in 1826.
Re-elected in 1828.
[Data unknown/missing.]
Henry L. Pinckney Nullifier March 4, 1833 -
March 3, 1837
[Data unknown/missing.] 1833-1843
[Data unknown/missing.]
Hugh S. Legaré.jpg
Hugh S. Legaré
Democratic March 4, 1837 -
March 3, 1839
[Data unknown/missing.]
Isaac E. Holmes Democratic March 4, 1839 -
March 3, 1843
[Data unknown/missing.]
Redistricted to the 6th district.
James A. Black Democratic March 4, 1843 -
April 3, 1848
[Data unknown/missing.]
[Data unknown/missing.]
Vacant April 3, 1848 -
June 12, 1848
The Honorable Daniel Wallace, Congressman from South Carolina.jpg
Daniel Wallace
Democratic June 12, 1848 -
March 3, 1853
[Data unknown/missing.]
John McQueen
Democratic March 4, 1853 -
December 21, 1860
Redistricted from the 4th district.
Vacant December 21, 1860 -
July 18, 1868
Civil War and Reconstruction
Benjamin F. Whittemore
Republican July 18, 1868 -
February 24, 1870
[Data unknown/missing.]
Vacant February 24, 1870 -
December 12, 1870
Joseph Rainey - Brady-Handy.jpg
Joseph H. Rainey
Republican December 12, 1870 -
March 3, 1879
[Data unknown/missing.]
Lost re-election.
John S. Richardson
Democratic March 4, 1879 -
March 3, 1883
[Data unknown/missing.]
Samuel Dibble.jpg
Samuel Dibble
Democratic March 4, 1883 -
March 3, 1891
[Data unknown/missing.] 1883-1893
[Data unknown/missing.]
William H. Brawley
Democratic March 4, 1891 -
February 12, 1894
[Data unknown/missing.]
Resigned to become U.S. District Judge.
[Data unknown/missing.]
Vacant February 12, 1894 -
April 12, 1894
James F. Izlar Democratic April 12, 1894 -
March 3, 1895
[Data unknown/missing.]
William Elliott (1838-1907).jpg
William Elliott
Democratic March 4, 1895 -
June 4, 1896
Lost election contest.
George Washington Murray.jpg
George W. Murray
Republican June 4, 1896 -
March 3, 1897
Won election contest.
William Elliott (1838-1907).jpg
William Elliott
Democratic March 4, 1897 -
March 3, 1903
[Data unknown/missing.]
George Swinton Legaré (South Carolina Congressman).jpg
George S. Legaré
Democratic March 4, 1903 -
January 31, 1913
[Data unknown/missing.]
[Data unknown/missing.]
Vacant January 31, 1913 -
April 29, 1913
Berkeley, Charleston, Clarendon, Colleton, and Dorchester Counties[3]
Richard S. Whaley
Democratic April 29, 1913 -
March 3, 1921
Elected to finish Legaré's term.
Re-elected in 1914.
Re-elected in 1916.
Re-elected in 1918.
[Data unknown/missing.]
W. Turner Logan Democratic March 4, 1921 -
March 3, 1925
Elected in 1920.
Re-elected in 1922.
[Data unknown/missing.]
Thomas McMillan portrait.jpg
Thomas S. McMillan
Democratic March 4, 1925 -
September 29, 1939
Elected in 1924.
Re-elected in 1926.
Re-elected in 1928.
Re-elected in 1930.
Re-elected in 1932.
Re-elected in 1934.
Re-elected in 1936.
Re-elected in 1938.
[Data unknown/missing.]
Vacant September 29, 1939 -
November 7, 1939
Clara McMillan.jpg
Clara Gooding McMillan
Democratic November 7, 1939 -
January 3, 1941
Elected to finish her husband's term.
[Data unknown/missing.]
L Mendell Rivers.jpg
L. Mendel Rivers
Democratic January 3, 1941 -
December 28, 1970
Elected in 1940.
Re-elected in 1942.
Re-elected in 1944.
Re-elected in 1946.
Re-elected in 1948.
Re-elected in 1950.
Re-elected in 1952.
Re-elected in 1954.
Re-elected in 1956.
Re-elected in 1958.
Re-elected in 1960.
Re-elected in 1962.
Re-elected in 1964.
Re-elected in 1966.
Re-elected in 1968.
Re-elected in 1970.
[Data unknown/missing.]
[Data unknown/missing.]
[Data unknown/missing.]
Vacant December 28, 1970 -
April 27, 1971
Mendel Jackson Davis.jpg
Mendel Jackson Davis
Democratic April 27, 1971 -
January 3, 1981
Elected to finish Rivers's term.
Re-elected in 1972.
Re-elected in 1974.
Re-elected in 1976.
Re-elected in 1978.
Retired for health reasons.
[Data unknown/missing.]
Thomas Hartnett.jpg
Thomas Hartnett
Republican January 3, 1981 -
January 3, 1987
Elected in 1980.
Re-elected in 1982.
Re-elected in 1984.
Retired to run for Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina.
[Data unknown/missing.]
Arthur Ravenel Jr.jpg
Arthur Ravenel Jr.
Republican January 3, 1987 -
January 3, 1995
Elected in 1986.
Re-elected in 1988.
Re-elected in 1990.
Re-elected in 1992.
Retired to run for Governor of South Carolina.
[Data unknown/missing.]
Mark Sanford, Congressional photo.jpg
Mark Sanford
Republican January 3, 1995 -
January 3, 2001
Elected in 1994.
Re-elected in 1996.
Re-elected in 1998.
Re-elected in 2000.
Retired to run for Governor of South Carolina.
[Data unknown/missing.]
Henry Brown
Republican January 3, 2001 -
January 3, 2011
Elected in 2000.
Re-elected in 2002.
Re-elected in 2004.
Re-elected in 2006.
Re-elected in 2008.
United States House of Representatives, South Carolina District 1 map.png
Tim Scott, official portrait, 112th Congress crop.jpg
Tim Scott
Republican January 3, 2011 -
January 2, 2013
Elected in 2010.
Re-elected in 2012, but resigned when appointed U.S. Senator.
Vacant January 2, 2013 -
May 7, 2013
South Carolina US Congressional District 1 (since 2013).tif
Mark Sanford, Official Portrait, 113th Congress (cropped).jpg
Mark Sanford
Republican May 7, 2013 -
January 3, 2019
Elected to finish Scott's term.
Re-elected in 2014.
Re-elected in 2016.
Lost renomination.
Joe Cunningham, Official Porrtait, 116th Congress (cropped).jpg
Joe Cunningham
Democratic January 3, 2019 -
Elected in 2018.

See also


  1. ^
  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)
  3. ^ "South Carolina". Official congressional directory. p. 103.

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

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