South Carolina 5th District
Some of the fiercest battles of the Revolutionary War were fought in South Carolina’s Upstate, on hilly lands just being settled by Scots-Irish farmers moving up from the Lowcountry or down the Virginia Piedmont valley. This was a country of violent passions and unclear lines. Carolinians have long argued over which side of the North and South Carolina boundary Andrew Jackson was born in 1767. Ever since, the fighting spirit and Calvinist faith of Upstate Carolinians have not wavered. This ‘‘Olde English District’’ remains intensely religious and pro-military, but it is no longer impoverished. For many years, the dominant industry here was textiles, traditionally the first factory enterprise of industrializing countries, with low pay and poor working conditions. But the number of textile jobs has declined markedly since the 1980s, and small business prosperity more recently has been barreling down the interstates from Greenville-Spartanburg and Columbia and Charlotte to transform counties once dependent on tobacco fields and textile mills.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 5th Congressional District of South Carolina consists of all or part of 14 counties, mostly in the Upstate and some in the Midlands. It includes Rock Hill-based York County, which grew 21% from 2000 to 2007 and is on the edge of the Charlotte, N.C., metro area. Just to the east is Lancaster County, where Del Webb’s Sun City Carolina Lakes is building a retirement community of more than 3,400 new homes. Further east, the 5th includes Dillon County and Darlington, site of the Southern 500 stock car race every Labor Day. It also includes lowland tobacco country, including Marlboro and Chesterfield counties. Politically, this homeland of Andrew Jackson is ancestrally Democratic, but Republicans are now competitive if not dominant. The tobacco counties are heavily Democratic, but York County is trending Republican. President George W. Bush won 57% of the district’s vote in 2004; GOP presidential nominee John McCain won 53% in 2008, including 58%-40% in York.