Republican candidates to face off in runoff for Congress - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Republican candidates to face off in runoff for Congress

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

The latest poll from the Trafalgar Group calls it a virtual tie between Ralph Norman and Tommy Pope, two candidates who head to a runoff for the Fifth Congressional District seat on Tuesday.

In a final push to convince voters to turn out to vote, candidates stumped across the district on Monday.

Ralph Norman showed off his campaign's major endorsement in U.S. Senator Ted Cruz's support. Each will tell you they’re ready to head for Washington where Republicans, now in the majority, seem to have everything to gain. However, the causes they represent and qualifications are different. 

“The only way we’re going to deliver on our agenda is if we get strong conservatives who we can trust to actually do in Washington what they told us back home they would do," Cruz said. 

Cruz cited his reasons behind his endorsement, for beliefs Norman could join the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and reduce business regulations. His support for Norman, the former South Carolina State Representative, was rolled out as the legislature including opponent and current Representative Tommy Pope voted for a higher state gas tax.

When asked if that influenced his support for Norman, Cruz responded, “I’ll let other candidates speak for themselves, but all of us have seen politicians that give a good talk back home and make promises, and then go to Washington and break their word. It’s how we’ve got a $19 trillion national debt.”

Meanwhile, Pope said his priority in Washington would be national security. Norman has been pressed by Pope's campaign. Video of Norman arguing against workman's compensation rights for law enforcement with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) on the House floor was released on Twitter last week. 

The debate from 2016 follows: Pope said to Norman: “...And so the reason you do not want to cover mental injuries is because you are concerned that we can’t prove them properly, is that correct?”

"Correct. I think right now, any of us could go back here, get a crayon and a coloring book and start chewing on the desk and we would be deemed mentally incompetent,” Norman responded. 

“That’s a low blow by Mr. Pope," Norman said on Monday. "Mr. Pope knows he benefits from that. He gets 30 percent of any workman’s comp claim, and police officers know I’ve always supported them and he knows that," 

“It’s easy to say ‘he’s doing that for ulterior motives,’ when I’ve worked hard for the people that need it," Pope responded. 

Pope argued his voting for the gas tax doesn't hurt his chances for Congress because he had the courage to vote instead of resigning to run as Norman did. 

“I resigned to save the taxpayers 35 to $50,000. I resigned because you can’t do both things," Norman said. "People have invested in me to run this campaign.”

“I made an obligation to the people that I was sent here to represent, and to the best of my ability, I fulfilled that promise to them," Pope said.

Polls open in the 5th Congressional District at 7 a.m. on Tuesday. Whoever is elected will go on the general election in June against Democrat Archie Parnell. 

Copyright 2017 WIS. All rights reserved. 

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