Daily Kos Elections' project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation takes on South Carolina, a solidly Republican state where Democrats still do hold some conservative seats. You can find our master list of states here, which we'll be updating as we add new data sets; you can also find all of our calculations from 2016 and past cycles here.
Donald Trump carried South Carolina 55-41, a swing to the right from Mitt Romney’s 55-44 win in 2012. The GOP has held the state House since the 1994 Republican wave, and they captured the Senate in 2000. Team Red has an 80-44 lead in the House and a 28-18 edge in the Senate (one Democratic-held House seat is vacant, and Daily Kos Elections assigns open seats to the party that last held them). The entire House is up every two years, while the Senate is only up in presidential cycles.
We’ll start with a look at the House. Trump carried 86 of the 124 seats, taking three Obama seats while losing two Romney districts. Unlike in neighboring North Carolina and Georgia, ticket splitting actually benefited Democrats here. Seven Democrats hold Trump seats, while only state Rep. Kirkman Finlay is the one Republican in a Clinton seat. Of those seven Democrats, four represent seats that also backed Romney, while another Democrat holds a Romney-Clinton district.
The Democrat in the reddest House seat is Michael Anthony, who won his eighth term 55-45 even as his HD-42, which is located south of Spartanburg, went from 55-44 Romney to 60-37 Trump. Those other three Democrats in Romney/Trump seats also represent districts that swung right and gave Trump at least a 19-point margin of victory. Finlay, the one Republican in a Clinton seat, won a third term 59.5-40.5 as his HD-75, which is located in the Columbia area, moved from 56-43 Romney to 48-45 Clinton.
Democrats haven’t had much luck in statewide races in South Carolina recently, and the GOP-drawn House map was designed to make it even tougher for Team Blue to flip the chamber. One way to illustrate the GOP’s advantage is to sort each seat in each chamber by Clinton's margin of victory over Trump and see how the seat in the middle—known as the median seat—voted. Because both chambers have an even number of seats, we average the two middle seats to come up with the median point in the chamber. In the House, the median seat backed Trump 59-37, quite a bit to the right of his 55-41 statewide win.
We’ll turn to the Senate, which won’t be up again until 2020. A bit surprisingly, Trump won all 33 Romney seats, while Clinton carried each of the 13 Obama districts. No Republicans hold Clinton seats, while five Democrats represent Trump turf. The Democrat in the reddest seat is none other than Vincent Sheheen, who was Team Blue’s 2010 and 2014 gubernatorial nominee. Sheheen won re-election last cycle without any GOP opposition even as his SD-27, located in the northern part of the state, swung from 55-44 Romney to 59-38 Trump.
Three other Democrats hold seats that backed Trump by at least a 10-point margin. The Republican in the bluest seat is John Courson, who led the chamber from 2012 to 2014 and was indicted on ethics charges earlier this year. Courson’s SD-20, which is located in the Columbia area, went from 54-44 Romney to just 48-46 Trump, and it could be a Democratic special election target if Courson needs to resign. Trump carried the median seat 58-38, also well to the right of the state.