COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Author and preservationist Catherine Fleming Bruce and state Rep. Krystle Matthews have advanced to a runoff for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

The winner of the June 28 vote will face Republican incumbent Tim Scott in the general election. Scott had no opposition in Tuesday’s primary and has raised $44 million for his pursuit of a second full six-year term. He said this will be his last term if he is reelected in November.

Bruce and Matthews have raised about $110,000 combined, according to Federal Election Commission reports.

Bruce said she supports health care for all and is in favor of federal legislation to bolster voting rights. She has worked on preservation projects on civil rights sites around the capital of Columbia. She also served as foreperson on the state grand jury that investigated corruption in the General Assembly, leading to indictments of several Republican lawmakers in 2016 and 2017. She lost a Columbia City Council race in 2019.

Matthews said she wants to change a toxic culture that leads senators and others in power to strip away the rights of minorities and take help and protection away from those who need it most. She also will run in November for a third term in the state House if she loses the U.S. Senate race.

Scott, who is the U.S. Senate’s only Black Republican, has been one of South Carolina’s more popular politicians. He was a congressman when then-Gov. Nikki Haley appointed him to the Senate seat left open when Jim DeMint resigned in 2012.


In each of Scott’s three races, he has faced an African American opponent. Bruce and Matthews are both Black. Scott won a 2014 special election and his 2016 regular term by more than 60% of the vote.

Scott is also being touted by some as a potential 2024 presidential candidate, although he has not mentioned it himself. He has made several trips to Iowa, where during a visit last week a woman shouted he should run for president. Scott deftly pivoted and replied, “of my homeowner’s association.”

Scott touts his conservative credentials and got a primetime speech at the 2020 Republican National Convention. But he has also noted his work with Democrats on police reform legislation.


This story has been edited to correct that Matthews is a state representative, not a state senator.


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