State Sen. William Timmons won the runoff election to replace outgoing Rep. Trey Gowdy in South Carolina Tuesday night.
Timmons, 34, defeated former state Sen. Lee Bright. A more establishment Republican, Timmons reportedly spent nearly $1 million of his own money in his campaign.
After his victory, Timmons thanked supporters, saying, “Without you, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” according to The Greenville News.
A prosecutor and successful businessman who was elected to the state Senate in 2016, Timmons loaned his campaign $918,000 and spent more than $1 million total.
According to his campaign website, Timmons was instrumental in creating a centralized domestic violence court in Greenville County because he was “concerned that domestic violence victims were not being well-served by the court’s processes.”
Timmons supports pro-life and pro-Second Amendment policies as well as hopes to help stop illegal immigration and government spending in Congress.
Timmons had the backing of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who said his “passion for the rule of law and government reform is inspiring.” Bright, on the other hand, was endorsed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie and Iowa Rep. Steve King.
According to The Greenville News, Bright finished first in the Republican primary held earlier this month but was unable to avoid a runoff.
Timmons wasn’t afraid to go after Bright during the campaign, saying his propensity toward less mainstream ideas – such as creating a state currency for South Carolina – would prevent him from being an effective congressman.
A Bright victory “would be a huge step backward” for the state, Timmons said at a previous event hosted by The Greenville News.
“He is going to be on the front page of papers all over this planet if he is your congressman,” Timmons said of Bright. “Businesses are not going to come here if he is your next congressman. He is going to say things that y’all do not agree with. He is going to say things that embarrass you, and it is going to cause problems for the Upstate.”
South Carolina’s 4th congressional district encompasses parts of Greenville and Spartanburg counties in the Upstate. The district hasn’t elected a Democrat since 1990 and has given at least 60 percent of the vote to every Republican since 2000.
Gowdy, the House Oversight Committee chairman who oversaw the divisive House investigation into the 2012 Benghazi attack, announced he would not seek re-election to Congress in January. Instead, he said he preferred to be “returning to the justice system.”
“Whatever skills I may have are better utilized in a courtroom than in Congress, and I enjoy our justice system more than our political system,” the 53-year-old said. “As I look back on my career, it is the jobs that both seek and reward fairness that are most rewarding.”
Timmons will face Democratic businessman Brandon Brown in the fall.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.