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Democratic candidate who admitted to domestic abuse wins South Carolina congressional primary

Updated 10:58 PM ET, Tue June 12, 2018

Washington (CNN) - A congressional candidate in South Carolina who admitted to abusing his ex-wife 45 years ago and lost all support from national and state Democrats has won his Democratic primary, CNN projects.

Archie Parnell overwhelmingly beat his three primary opponents and will go on to face incumbent Republican Rep. Ralph Norman in the general election for South Carolina's 5th Congressional District in November.

"Tonight, the people sent a clear message to everyone. You don't have to be defined by your worst mistake. You don't have to be cast aside. You are not alone. You can be better. And, together, we can be better," Parnell said in a statement released Tuesday after the race was called in his favor.

Parnell and Norman ran against each other in a special election last year to replace Mick Mulvaney, who left South Carolina to serve in the Trump administration. The special election ended up being one of the closest congressional elections in the nation, with Norman beating Parnell by barely three points.

The rematch between Parnell and Norman was expected to be close again this time around. However, due to the revelations about Parnell, national Democrats who were keeping their eyes on turning over a seat in ruby red South Carolina have turned their attention elsewhere, giving up hope on the 5th District.

Despite the lack of support and his entire campaign staff resigning, Parnell announced last week that he made the decision to stay in the race. He remained the favorite to win the primary due to his overwhelming name recognition compared to his three Democratic opponents.

Last month, Parnell came clean about attacking and beating his ex-wife 45 years ago. The ex-wife said this caused her to fear for her life and she obtained a restraining order against Parnell. Their divorce was finalized in 1974.


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