By the close of the filing period on January 28th, an eye-opening 21 candidates formally declared their candidacy for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional seat. The position has been vacant ever since Gov. Nikki Haley appointed former Rep. Tim Scott the state’s junior senator in the wake of Jim DeMint’s resignation.

The crowded field officially includes sixteen Republicans, three Democrats, and two Green Party candidates. According to the Cook Political Report, the race rates as “Solid Republican.” The 1st District’s Partisan Voter Index is listed as “R+11.”

Listed alphabetically, the Republican candidates are: Keith Blandford, Curtis Bostic, Ric Bryant, Larry Grooms, Jonathan Hoffman, Jeff King, John Kuhn, Tim Larkin, Chip Limehouse, Peter McCoy, Elizabeth Moffly, Ray Nash, Andy Patrick, Shawn Pinkston, Mark Sanford, and Teddy Turner.

Since 1980, no GOP candidate has won the 1st District in an open-seat primary with more than fifty percent of the vote needed to avoid a runoff. If history repeats itself on March 19th, the top two candidates will have only two weeks to scramble for the likely runoff primary on April 2nd. The general election, which only requires a plurality to win, is scheduled for May 7th.

So far, Keith Blandford, Chip Limehouse, Andy Patrick, Mark Sanford, and Teddy Turner have made a written promise to South Carolina taxpayers to oppose new tax hikes. ATR encourages all candidates to make the same commitment by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge before the first set of primaries.