Horry County will have a familiar face representing its interests in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, of Myrtle Beach, won a fourth consecutive term Tuesday, leading Democratic challenger Robert Williams by 12 percentage points at the time the race was called, according to unofficial results.
Rice celebrated with supporters at Longbeard Bar and Grill in Carolina Forest and delivered his victory speech about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.
He thanked everyone that has been with him since he first ran for office in 2012 and promised to “keep working to make America better.”
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Referring to projections on a nearby television showing Fox News projecting Democrats taking control of the House, Rice told supporters he wasn’t sure why voters would want to halt all the economic progress Republicans have made since taking control of all three legislative branches.
He said was pleasantly surprised visiting polling stations Tuesday across Horry County at how high voter turnout appeared. He noted several precincts he visited with hourlong waits and one with a two-hour wait.
Rice noted he was paying attention to several races in other states as Republicans aimed to retain control of the House and Senate. He said before results starting coming in that he felt Republicans would retain both, though he admitted the House could be a “nail-biter.”
The state will certify the votes from the eight counties that cover District 7 later this week. The district represents voters in Horry, Georgetown, Marion, Dillon, Florence, Darlington, Marlboro and Chesterfield counties.
Rice told The Sun News during an August interview that his top priority would remain the same as it was during his first three terms: bringing more jobs to his district.
One of his primary goals since taking office has been to ensure the completion of Interstate 73, which would help connect Myrtle Beach to major highways.
Despite the potential shift in House control, Rice said he felt confident he could garner bipartisan support for an infrastructure package that could help make I-73 a reality.
Williams, a state representative serving parts of Darlington and Florence counties, simultaneously ran to retain his state House seat and defeated his challenger by more than 3,000 votes, according to unofficial results.
He narrowly defeated Mal Hyman in a June primary runoff to earn the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House race.