Mulvaney's confirmation makes replacement election official

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney's confirmation Thursday as President Donald Trump's budget director made the campaign for his replacement official.

Filing for the special election, set for June 20, is still two weeks away. But at least six Republicans have already announced their candidacy, in anticipation of Mulvaney's resignation from the 5th District seat he's held since 2011.

After the U.S. Senate's 51-49 vote to confirm Mulvaney to run the White House budget office, state Rep. Ralph Norman resigned his Statehouse seat to concentrate on his campaign amid the growing field. It's Norman's second bid for Congress. The Rock Hill Republican lost his 2006 challenge to then-longtime Democratic Congressman John Spratt.

Other Republicans vying for the seat include House Speaker Pro Tem Tommy Pope of York, former state GOP Chairman Chad Connelly of Newberry, GOP activist Sheri Few, Camden attorney and State Guard commander Tom Mullikin, and Indian Land attorney Kris Wampler.

No Democrat has yet announced.

Mulvaney easily won a fourth term in November with 59 percent of the vote.

The district comprises the Republican-leaning suburbs of Charlotte, North Carolina, and has trended more conservative since Mulvaney defeated in 2010.

Because Norman resigned the same day as Mulvaney, the schedules for the special elections to fill their vacancies coincide.

Filing with the State Election Commission opens March 3 and ends March 13. Primaries will be May 2 and, if needed, the runoff will be May 16.