COLUMBIA, S.C. – More than a year and a half ahead of the 2022 general election, a Democratic state lawmaker is mounting a bid to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, saying her campaign — with the aim of registering 150,000 new voters across South Carolina — has what it takes to tighten the margin Democrats have struggled to close in statewide elections.
“This is a true grassroots effort, focusing on voter registration, engagement and mobilization,” state Rep. Krystle Matthews said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “We’re going to meet and engage as many people as we can, particularly people who haven’t voted in a while."
Matthews, recently elected to her second term in the state House, represents a district that includes areas north of Charleston. In 2018, she ousted a four-term GOP incumbent, focusing her campaign on what she saw as a need to elect more representatives with “the working person’s voice.”
In that first effort, Matthews has said she raised only $700, focusing nearly entirely on registering new voters and engaging those who hadn’t cast ballots in years. In the end, she won by 7 percentage points.
Now, Matthews, 40, said she wants to scale that same strategy up for a statewide campaign.
“This is a doable race,” Matthews, a single mother who works at Boeing’s sprawling campus near Charleston, told the AP ahead of her official launch, planned for Tuesday at the Statehouse in Columbia, with legislative and Democratic Party leaders.
“The people of South Carolina, we’re ready for somebody that represents all of the people, all of the time, and not just some of the people, some of the time,” she said.
Matthews already has the campaign team that helped South Carolina make history last year when Kristin Graziano became the state's first elected female sheriff, unseating a lawman who'd been in office for more than three decades.