A prominent Camden attorney who leads the South Carolina State Guard announced Wednesday that he will run for a seat in Congress should it open in the next month.
Thomas Mullikin indicated he would seek the Republican nomination for the South Carolina Fifth Congressional District seat held by U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney. Fellow Republican Mulvaney has been nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as the next director of the White House Office on Management and Budget. If confirmed by the Senate, he would then step down from this seat in the House of Representatives.
The 56-year-old Mullikin is a former Judge Advocate General attorney with the Army Reserve. In civilian life, his Mullikin Law Firm out of Camden advises businesses, organizations and government officials on energy laws and strategies.
“For me to run has been a difficult decision,” he told South Carolina Radio Network in an exclusive interview before the announcement. “Like many people, I had reached a point in my life where life was good and I was very comfortable… But we have been very disappointed with what we have seen going on in Washington the past several decades.”
Mullikin has led the South Carolina State Guard as a major general for the past two years. The Guard is officially a reserve state volunteer defense force. Members are often called into service to assist the National Guard during disasters or state emergencies.
He said his top priorities as a member of Congress would be pursuing policies that could create jobs in his district, particularly through his own experience with the energy sector. “We’re talking about economic security, energy security, national security and for real change to be impactful: term limits in Washington,” he said. “Bringing in fresh ideas from across the country on a more routine basis.”
Mullikin points to his lack of political experience as an opportunity to bring new ideas to Washington. While he has advised several House and Senate candidates in the past, his only previous personal dab into politics was an unsuccessful 1996 campaign for the state Senate against the late popular longtime State Sen. Donald Holland.
State Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill, said last month he would run for Mulvaney’s seat. Indian Land attorney Kris Wampler and anti-Common Core activist Sheri Few of Elgin have also announced runs for the Republican nomination should Mulvaney resign. Former SC GOP Chairman Chad Connelly has also indicated he is contemplating a run.
State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw, announced Tuesday he would not seek the seat if it opens, electing to remain in the South Carolina Senate.