U.S. Senate race fields are expanding in S.C.

South Carolina’s U.S. Senate races got murkier on Friday when another Republican and a Democrat entered the fields.

ONLINE: For more political news, go to palmettopolitics.com.

In one fight, Orangeburg lawyer Bill Connor entered the Republican U.S. Senate primary race versus Lindsey Graham next year.

In the other, Richland County Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson formally entered the Democratic race to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Tim Scott.

Connor’s candidacy almost guarantees a runoff in the GOP Senate primary since having five candidates on the ballot means the odds increase significantly for a second duel between the top two vote-getters if no one gets above 50 percent in the first go-round.

Connor, who previously ran for lieutenant governor against Ken Ard in 2010, has filed candidacy papers, according to media reports.

A phone call made to his law firm seeking comment Friday was not returned.

The GOP ballot now includes Graham, Connor, state Sen. Lee Bright of Spartanburg, Upstate businessman Richard Cash and Nancy Mace, the first female graduate of The Citadel Corps of Cadets.

Meanwhile, The State newspaper of Columbia said Dickerson’s announcement press conference Friday included the comment she wanted to be “elected” not “selected” for the position.

Scott became U.S. senator after Gov. Nikki Haley appointed him to fill the unexpired term of previous senator Jim DeMint, who resigned to lead the Heritage Foundation think tank.

Because of South Carolina election laws, the seat has to face a statewide vote in the 2014 statewide election.

Dickerson was elected to the county council in 2004. She is retired as a compliance auditor, the State report said. She chairs the National Foundation for Women Legislators and is president of the National Order of Women Legislators.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551

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