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Matthews Wins Runoff to Challenge Incumbent Sen. Tim Scott

June 29, 2022 by Dan McCue
Matthews Wins Runoff to Challenge Incumbent Sen. Tim Scott
South Carolina Rep. Krystle Matthews, D-Berkeley, announcing her U.S. Senate bid in April. (Jeffrey Collins, Associated Press)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — S.C. Democratic state Rep. Krystle Matthews has won the Democratic primary runoff in South Carolina and with it the right to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Tim Scott in November.

With 99% of precincts reporting as of Wednesday afternoon, Matthews beat challenger Catherine Fleming Bruce, an activist and author, by garnering the support of 55.8% of voters compared with Bruce’s 44.2%.

Looked at another way, Matthews received 25,234 of the 45,237 votes that were cast, while Bruce garnered just 20,003, according to the South Carolina State Board of Elections.

In a pair of messages on her Facebook page, Matthews said, “Tonight we won the runoff and now we are on the road to grow the U.S. Senate so it can work for us.”

“A huge thank you to my team,” she continued. “Couldn’t have done it without you all. A huge thank you to the voters who believed in me and came out to get to know me for themselves.”

Bruce called Matthews minutes after the race was called to concede. 

She later told The State newspaper in Columbia that she was thankful for the opportunity to engage with voters and was satisfied with her campaign.

“I’m very happy with what we’ve done. We raised a fourth of what my opponent raised,” she told the newspaper. “So we hope it’s onward and upward for the Democratic Party.”

The race was not without its controversy.

In the final days of the campaign, audio of a phone call between Matthews and a South Carolina inmate surfaced in which the two appeared to discuss a number of topics including using drug money to fund political campaigns.

“It should also not be lost on anyone that this doctored audio from February, leaking this close to the runoff, is nothing more than a political hit job,” Matthews said in response.

“This, however, was a private call that was between two Black adults,” she continued. “Nothing I said was untrue and everything I said are also things that I’ve already talked about throughout my campaign.

“I don’t run from anything, and anyone who knows me knows that I will face things head on,” she added.

The call, which was released by the right-wing activist group Project Veritas, is now the subject of a law enforcement probe.

Matthews, who lived in Berkeley County near Charleston, is a single mother of five who has been a South Carolina state representative since 2018. She also works as an engineering planner for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner plant in North Charleston.

During her campaign Matthews repeatedly told voters that her experience as a Democratic lawmaker in a state House controlled by Republicans has well prepared her for the bipartisan coalition building she’ll have to do to get things done in the U.S. Senate.

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and @DanMcCue

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