Historically, the district was a Democratic stronghold, and Democrats continued to hold most local offices well into the 1990s. However, most residents share the socially conservative views of their counterparts in the 4th district and the district has elected Republicans since 1994. Republicans now dominate the district’s politics at all levels, usually scoring margins rivaling those in the 4th. Indeed, no Democrat has cleared the 40 percent mark in the district in almost a quarter-century.
South Carolina’s senior Senator, Lindsey Graham, held this seat from 1995 to 2003. He was succeeded by J. Gresham Barrett, who gave up the seat in order to run for governor. State Rep. Jeff Duncan won the seat in 2010.