An attorney from Pawley’s Island will be the latest Democratic candidate to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom Rice.
Bill Hopkins is running for South Carolina’s Seventh Congressional District, which covers the Pee Dee and Myrtle Beach regions. It will be Hopkins’ first run for political office.
“Unfortunately, special interests and folks who have the highest-paid lobbyists seem to be getting results,” he told South Carolina Radio Network. “And I want to go to Washington to work for the people who have to work for a living.”
Two other Democrats also have announced plans to run against Rice, who has represented the district since its creation in 2012. Horry County psychologist Bruce Fisher and Coker College professor Mal Hyman have also declared their candidacies. Hyman ran unsuccessfully for the job two years ago.
Hopkins staked out a moderate position, saying he would be willing to work with Republicans on issues such as trade or infrastructure if he thinks it will help the region. “I’m willing to reach across the aisle and work with others,” he said. “I’m not going there specifically to refute everything that (President) Donald Trump does. I’m not just going to oppose everything he wants. I’m willing to work with people to get things done.”
The Bishopville native graduated from North Carolina State University before landing a job at a Lancaster textile mill. He rose to shift superintendent before going to the University of South Carolina law school in 1991. He has practiced law for more than 20 years, including representing South Carolina in lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies for Medicaid overpayments (his firm was hired by then-Attorney General Henry McMaster, according to his website).
Hopkins formed his own partnership McCutchen Blanton Hopkins & Campbell, LLP in 2007, but moved to national law firm three years later with an emphasis on class action litigation. He cited lawsuits filed against an out-of-state garbage company over problems with a Lee County dumping site and represented 400 African-Americans in a suit alleging life insurance companies charged higher premiums to black customers.
The attorney said he would support fairer trade policies and believes “common-sense regulations” should be reached on guns, including improved background checks. He said he wanted to hear from constituents before taking a position on the completion of Interstate 73, which Rice supports.