South Carolina will hold a special election this year to determine who will represent the state in the U.S. House of Representatives.
This comes after Mick Mulvaney vacated his seat in order to become the director of the Office of Management and Budget. On Tuesday, May 2nd, a primary will be held, with a runoff taking place on May 16th if no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote. After the Democratic and the Republican candidates are determined, the actual special election is held on June 20th.
In the Republican field, Tommy Pope is currently ahead in most polls. So what are Pope’s political views? What platform is he running on? Here’s what you need to know.
1. He Supports Building a Wall Along the Southern Border
Tommy Pope is in agreement with Donald Trump that a wall should be built along the southern border of the United States.
Pope recently unveiled a seven-point national security policy proposal, and the very first point on the list is “Build the Wall.”
“We do not know who these people are or what their true intentions are towards America,” Pope said of undocumented immigrants. “We can’t have peace at home until our borders are secure – and if we don’t have borders, we aren’t a nation. We should not have to apologize for wanting to secure our Nation. I stand with President Trump 100% on building the wall. Despite what the Obama years taught those who wished to come here illegally, we will send a strong message – if you try to come here illegally, we will turn you away at the door and send you home.”
Pope also agrees with Donald Trump’s efforts to crack down on sanctuary cities, a term that refers to cities that do not fully comply with the federal government when it comes to the enforcement of national immigrants laws.
“Sanctuary cities empower illegal immigrants to remain free while committing heinous, brutal crimes including rape and murder,” Pope said in his national security policy proposal. “With President Trump and a Republican Congress, this is a perfect opportunity to send a message to cities providing sanctuary to those here illegally – these practices will not be tolerated, and, if they are continued, you will lose your federal funding. Period.”
In general, Pope is a big fan of Donald Trump, and he says that he will fight for Trump’s principles in Congress.
“We heard it over and over again on the campaign trail last year: we don’t win anymore as a country,” Pope said in a statement after President Donald Trump’s February address to Congress. “Fortunately, the hard work to bring change to Washington and win as a nation has begun under the Trump presidency…In Congress, I’ll fight for the conservative principles President Trump and the people of the 5th Congressional district share, and help turn his campaign promises into action. The people deserve nothing less.”
2. He Wants to Impose Term Limits on Members of Congress
One of Pope’s positions that not every Republican is on board with is the idea that term limits should be imposed on members of Congress.
In a recent TV ad, Pope lists only three key campaign positions, and one of them is passing term limits so that, as Pope puts it, “politicians focus on you instead of on themselves.”
Making term limits a requirement for members of Congress would require a Constitutional amendment, and passing it would be an extraordinarily difficult task, especially considering Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, is against the idea.
“I would say we have term limits now,” McConnell said earlier this year. “They’re called elections. And it will not be on the agenda in the Senate.”
3. He Has Pledged to Repeal Obamacare
Like most Republicans, Tommy Pope strongly dislikes the Affordable Care Act, and he has promised to help repeal it once he gets into Congress.
“All across South Carolina’s 5th District, I hear from voters about the harmful effects of ObamaCare,” Pope recently said in a statement. “Whether it’s families facing skyrocketing premiums, or business owners who want to create new jobs but can’t afford to, the burdens of this disastrous legislation are clear. I have faced those same burdens in my own small business.”
In fact, Pope signed a pledge promising that he will vote to repeal Obamacare.
It seems that Pope was a supporter of the American Health Care Act and would have voted for it if he were in Congress at the time; in late March, he tweeted out a link to an article critical of the House Freedom Caucus, the group that helped kill the AHCA because they did not think it was conservative enough.
4. He Is Pro-Life & Says He Will Bring Christian Values to Congress
Tommy Pope says that while in Congress, he will fight laws that provide women access to abortions.
“Growing up in a Christian home and having a family of his own, Tommy is a strong advocate of pro-life issues,” one of Pope’s campaign ads reads. “He strongly believes that life begins at conception and will defend that belief from all liberal attacks.”
In another recent campaign ad, Pope said that he will apply his Christian values to his lawmaking.
“Tommy recognizes that nothing in the Constitution requires him to leave his Christian values outside the hall of government,” a Tommy Pope campaign ads reads. “When he is in Washington, he will apply those values and his upbringing to every decision before Congress.”
5. He Is a Former Police Officer & Says the Obama Administration Did Not Support Police
One major theme of Pope’s campaign has been the idea that law enforcement needs to receive more respect and support.
Pope himself is a former police officer, and in an ad called “Law and Order,” he says that Washington for the last eight has done nothing about violence against police. He goes on to say that while in Congress, he will “give more resources for law enforcement.”
In his national security seven-point plan, Pope reiterates this point.
“Respect for our men and women in law enforcement is at an all-time low,” he says. “In President Obama’s second term alone, our nation lost 562 police officers in the line of duty. Yet, did the President ever publicly and loudly stand with them? As a former police officer, I know first-hand the risks that our first responders face every single day. They are our first line of defense if anything goes wrong. To treat them with anything but deference and respect is simply unacceptable.”