Defeats Tenenbaum in Senate Cliffhanger
The three-term congressman campaigned as a solid Republican while Tenenbaum, a self-proclaimed moderate, tried to distance herself from the Democratic Party.
The economy and taxes ranked highest among voter concerns, according to an Associated Press exit poll.
Tenenbaum, who had criticized DeMint's proposal to scrap the Internal Revenue Service and replace it with a national sales tax, did not sway voters.
"From the economic standpoint, I believe in a federal sales tax and eliminating the graduated tax brackets we have," said Dr. John Barbour, 29, of Charleston.
For the first time since Reconstruction, South Carolina will be sending two Republicans to the U.S. Senate.
South Carolina Senate Race Heads into Final Hours
Heading into Tuesday's election, Democrat Inez Tenenbaum has moved from underdog status to serious competitor against Republican Jim DeMint. The two-term state secretary of education has campaigned as an independent Democrat who supports the war in Iraq, the death penalty and gun ownership. She opposes outsourcing and has proposed tightening free trade agreements to protect workers in state that relies on textile industry and other manufacturing jobs.
In contrast, DeMint, a three-term congressman, has embraced his party and free trade while proposing radical changes in the tax code, health care and Social Security reform. He has opposed all forms of abortion, gay marriage and created controversy earlier in the campaign when he said openly gay individuals and single mothers should not teach in public schools.
The two candidates, who hope to replace retiring Democrat Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, spent the final Sunday of the campaign in different churches, before criss-crossing the state to make one final push on Monday.
Carolina Senate Candidates Debate on National Television
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