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Outside Groups Spend Big On Upstate SC Race

Fourteen-term Democratic Congressman John Spratt of Upstate South Carolina has become a lightning rod for conservative groups who are inundating the airwaves. It's not your imagination. Winthrop political scientist Scott Huffmon says there really are a lot more TV ads running this year for South Carolina's 5th district. "Spratt hasn't had an opponent in a long time with the money to run a media-intensive race like this," says Huffmon. Technically, Republican Mick Mulvaney doesn't need the money to run those ads. Outside conservative groups are doing it for him. They've spent upwards of $700,000 on TV ads attacking Spratt. A spokesman for one of the groups says they're just trying to level the playing field. The Spratt campaign has raised twice as much as Mulvaney, according to the most recent filings. But Spratt's getting some outside backing, too, with ads paid for by the Democratic Party's campaign arm. Huffmon says they have reason to worry: "You have conservatives fired up. You have an anti-Washington sentiment. You have anger towards Obama and anybody associated with him. And then you have a pretty good candidate like Mick Mulvaney come on. He grabbed the surfboard at the right time and is trying to ride this wave into Washington." Mick Mulvaney is a former Charlotte attorney who moved to Indian Land and became a South Carolina legislator. John Spratt has spent 28 years in Congress, managing to win as a Democrat in a district that leans Republican in national races. He's also the chair of the House Budget Committee which makes him a particularly important asset to the Democratic Party and one Republicans would love to topple. So, if you think the airwaves are already maxed out on Spratt/Mulvaney TV ads, just wait.