The fact that this seat is in play, after 14 terms of representation by John Spratt, is a bad sign for Democrats.
In 2008, Congressman Spratt, a conservative Democrat, won reelection by 25 percentage points. A Republican hasn’t won in this district since 1882. But Spratt’s opponent, Mick Mulvaney, is narrowly favored to win.
The demographics of Spratt’s district have been changing, and he has held on to his seat largely out of loyalty. This year, with the pervasive anti-incumbent sentiment, that seems an uphill battle.
Still, if Spratt does manage to hang onto his seat – or even if he barely loses – it may be a sign that the Democrats are going to have a better night than expected. South Carolina polls close at 7 p.m. Eastern time.