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Democratic candidate Archie Parnell and his wife, Sarah. File/Rick Carpenter/The Sumter Item

Despite revelations that congressional hopeful Archie Parnell physically abused his ex-wife decades ago, the Sumter Democrat enters Tuesday's primary as the overwhelming favorite.

Parnell faces three political newcomers who remain largely unknown in the 5th Congressional District for the chance to face incumbent Republican Ralph Norman.

They are Mark Ali, a former undocumented immigrant now living in Chester; Steve Lough, a former professional clown from Camden; and Sidney Moore, a Rock Hill retiree who served on the York County Council in the 1970s.

Even many Democrats who have called on Parnell to drop out acknowledge that he's likely to end up winning the primary due to the low name recognition of his three challengers.

That hasn't stopped them from continuing their efforts to get him to stand down.

York County Democratic Party Chairman Jim Thompson wrote in the group's Facebook page that some voters in the district have been receiving phone calls from people claiming that the county party stands behind Parnell. 

To the contrary, he reminded voters the county party has actually called on Parnell to drop out and continues to do so. 

The abuse allegations were included in divorce records from the 1970s only recently exposed.

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While some Democrats in the district have continued to publicly back Norman, many prominent figures have distanced themselves from him, including U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-Columbia, and former state Rep. Bakari Sellers.

Officials at the S.C. Democratic Party and the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said they will never go back to supporting Parnell under any circumstances, even if he wins the party's nomination Tuesday.

Democrats once pointed to Norman's district as a possible opportunity to flip a Republican seat due to last year's close special election. Parnell  came surprisingly near to upsetting Norman in a special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, falling just 3 percent short.

They have since turned their attention elsewhere due to Parnell's damaged candidacy. Nonpartisan analysts like the Cook Political Report have moved the district from likely Republican to solid Republican.

The 5th District, which stretches from the Charlotte suburbs of Rock Hill to Sumter, has become a reliably red seat in recent years. In the 2016 presidential election, Republican Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton by 18 percent in the district.

Follow Jamie Lovegrove on Twitter @jslovegrove.

Jamie Lovegrove is a political reporter covering the South Carolina Statehouse, congressional delegation and campaigns. He previously covered Texas politics in Washington for The Dallas Morning News and in Austin for the Texas Tribune.

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