Incumbent Hollings wins close race in South Carolina
ATLANTA (AllPolitics, November 3) -- Democrat Ernest "Fritz" Hollings successfully fought Republican Rep. Robert Inglis Tuesday to win a sixth full term in the U.S. Senate.
Inglis, a conservative three-term congressman, put up a tough battle that went down to the wire on election day.
Hollings, an old-style Democrat in the new Republican South, called himself "the last of the Mohicans" during the race.
"There's only two ways to run ... for public office: one is unopposed, the other is scared," Hollings said as the election approached. "We're running scared."
Inglis, whose profiles generally contain the words "Boy Scout," sought a contract for a courteous campaign. That prompted Hollings to say Inglis could "kiss my fanny."
In his campaign, Inglis credited Republicans with balancing the federal budget, and suggested that Hollings had "gone Washington" and had grown arrogant and more interested in legislating than listening to his constituents.
Hollings emphasized his accomplishments and picked at Inglis' voting record, particularly on education, the environment and Social Security.
President Bill Clinton was the unknown factor as election day approached. Unlike many candidates around the country, Inglis, who serves on the House Judiciary Committee, made the Monica Lewinsky scandal a campaign-trail staple.
"If there were a CEO in South Carolina who admitted to lying to the board of directors for seven months and having sexual relations with the mail room clerk, he or she would be gone within 10 minutes," Inglis said.
The race was marked by personal invective, too. In mid-October, Hollings called Inglis a "goddamn skunk" in a meeting with a newspaper editorial board, then apologized a day later.
Hollings told The (Rock Hill) Herald he thought Inglis was being dishonest with voters by underestimating the federal deficit.
"He finesses all around," Hollings told the newspaper. "He is Jack be nimble, Jack be quick. He's all around the damn clock, so oozing and goozing and such a nice little choir boy and so pleasant, and everybody's rude, and he wants to be courteous. He is a goddamn skunk."
Hollings, who is serving his fifth full term in the Senate and previously served as governor and lieutenant governor, has been the ultimate Senate insider, presiding over the important Commerce Committee when the Democrats were in the majority.
Inglis won the Republican nomination with an impressive primary victory over Greenville County GOP Chairman Steve Brown, who challenged Inglis from the right.
Still, Inglis alienated some conservatives and turned off National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Mitch McConnell by attacking political action committees. He had trouble raising money and didn't match Hollings in the money race.
Inglis' lack of money forced the national GOP to play a major advertising role in the race. A state party ad criticized Hollings' record on welfare reform and used old footage of Hollings seeming to dismiss public opinion.
Heading into the election, Democrats hoped that GOP dissatisfaction with incumbent Republican Gov. David Beasley, who had a surprisingly tough re-election fight against James Hodges, would depress Republican turnout and help Hollings.
CNN's Candy Crowley and political analyst Stuart Rothenberg contributed to this report.
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