WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - With his re-election campaign underway, Representative Joe Wilson faces a unique challenge as November approaches.
In the midst of a pandemic, Wilson’s bid for re-election is opposed by a Democratic challenger who has outraised him in funds and has begun airing TV ads before him.
Wilson, who has served in Congress for nearly 20 years, faces Adair Ford Boroughs in the upcoming election for the Second District of South Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives. The political newcomer has raised about $300,000 more than Wilson and launched her first TV ad Tuesday. Wilson said his first TV ads of this campaign cycle will air in October and his campaign has already put out digital ads.
Boroughs’ ad introduces herself to potential voters as a former teacher and prosecutor who comes from a working-class family in Barnwell County. Her story is one she hopes to share with the Second District, a region that includes parts of Richland, Lexington, and Aiken counties.
Boroughs admitted her mission to defeat the longtime incumbent is difficult.
“Is it gonna be hard? Yes, I’ve done a lot of hard things. Look at my story in life. Look at what I’ve done. And then you tell me one more time what I can’t do,” Boroughs said. “I want to go in there. I want to get a job done and come out.”
Boroughs stressed if she elected, she only wants to serve three terms because she doesn’t want to get comfortable in Washington.
Wilson refused to attack Boroughs when asked and instead said he is prepared to work for his 10th term.
“I’m not taking a thing for granted. I want people to know my record, a positive record for strong national defense, working for jobs,” he said.
Both candidates agreed the district they are representing is changing but disagree on who benefits from the region’s growth.
“It’s a good thing. The areas that are growing fastest also happen to have the highest percentage of Republican voters,” Wilson said.
Boroughs, who was raised in the Second District, said new residents offer her an opportunity to come out of this race ahead.
“The district is not the same district it was 20 years ago, 10 years ago. And it’s ready for something new and a different look,” she said.
If elected, Boroughs would be the first woman sent to Congress from South Carolina since 1992.
Boroughs said her two top goals if elected are to expand broadband in rural communities and to improve the infrastructure -- in particular, to better defend the region from potential flooding. Wilson’s campaign centers around the idea that “Joe means jobs,” as some of his signs say.
He said he is focused on helping the district’s economy recover in the wake of the pandemic and hopes to keep using his seat on the House Armed Service and Foreign Affairs committees to keep South Carolinians safe.
With less than three months until Election Day and absentee voting beginning as early as the end of September, both candidates are working hard to win a seat many national political analysts rarely discuss.