While the races for South Carolina governor and the state's 1st Congressional District have attracted most of the headlines, several other key Palmetto State contests set for Nov. 6 are worth keeping an eye on:
After the governor's race, the other major statewide contest this fall pits the two-term Republican attorney general Alan Wilson from Lexington against Democratic law professor Constance Anastopoulo from Charleston.
Readers may recognize Constance Anastopoulo's last name from the renowned TV ads of her attorney husband: "Don't scream, call Akim!" But with a background in ethics, Anastopoulo has focused much of her early messaging on cracking down on Statehouse corruption.
After Wilson was forced to spend much of his vast campaign war chest, some $2 million, to fend off two GOP primary challengers, the two general election foes started with similar levels of funding: Wilson had $165,000 cash on hand to Anastopoulo's $100,000 at the end of June.
Wilson comes in with the strong backing of many South Carolina law enforcement officials and the well-heeled national Republican Attorneys General Association. Even without a primary challenger, Anastopoulo traveled the state this summer and is expected to ramp up her campaign in the coming weeks.
Both of Wilson's GOP primary challenges also tried to make ethics a central component of their attacks on the incumbent because of his ties to embattled political consultant Richard Quinn. But Wilson successfully staved them off, arguing no one in the state "has fought public corruption harder than me."
Senate District 20
By far the most watched Statehouse race this year, Dick Harpootlian, the loquacious former chairman of the S.C. Democratic Party, faces off against Republican Ballentine attorney Benjamin Dunn in the special election to replace state Sen. John Courson, the Columbia Republican who resigned in June after pleading guilty in the Statehouse corruption probe.
Harpootlian is a well-known commodity, a multi-millionaire Columbia lawyer and former 5th Circuit solicitor famous for the acerbic quotes he's given to national media outlets about South Carolina politics over the years. Dunn, another lawyer and a lieutenant colonel in the S.C. National Guard, is a political newcomer.
If Harpootlian wins, it would cut the GOP margin in the 46-seat Senate down to eight and add a brash new figure to the Democratic caucus who many expect would waste no time in shaking up the more deliberative and staid Statehouse chamber.
5th Congressional District
Once viewed as a top Democratic pick-up opportunity after a near miss against Republican Ralph Norman in last year's special election, Archie Parnell has largely fallen off the radar since The Post and Courier uncovered divorce records that revealed the Sumter Democrat beat his ex-wife in 1973.
Now the question becomes whether Parnell can convince voters in South Carolina's 5th Congressional District, which stretches from Rock Hill down to Sumter, to look past his personal history and elect a Democrat for the first time since Mick Mulvaney unseated longtime congressman John Spratt in 2010.
Lowcountry S.C. House races
Given the way South Carolina's legislative district map is drawn, just a handful of races are expected to be truly competitive each cycle.
Several of them in 2018 are located in and around the Charleston area.
These are the few types of districts in South Carolina that could be affected by the much-disputed "blue wave" that Democrats are hoping will wash ashore this year and mobilize voters who have previously stayed home.
House District 15: Democrat JA Moore, a professional chef, is challenging state Rep. Samuel Rivers, R-Goose Creek.
House District 110: After surviving a competitive GOP primary, state Rep. William Cogswell of Charleston now faces Democratic attorney Ben Pogue.
House District 114: Democratic filmmaker Dan Jones had more than double state Rep. Lin Bennett's cash on hand in his campaign account at the end of June.
House District 117: State Rep. Bill Crosby has an opponent — Krystle Simmons — for the first time since winning his seat in 2010, when he replaced now-U.S. Sen. Tim Scott.
The dark horses
Republicans laugh off the idea that either of these races will be competitive, but Democrats have nonetheless set their sights on a pair of ruby red districts, buoyed by candidates who they believe are uniquely well-suited to stage upsets.
House District 2: GOP Rep. Bill Sandifer has represented hyper-conservative Oconee County in the state's northwestern corner since 1995, climbing to the chairmanship of the powerful Labor, Commerce and Industry committee that oversees business-related legislation.
Democrat Jody Gaulin's Oconee roots trace back generations, and she worked for decades in the textile industry before becoming a supply chain director when much of the manufacturing process moved offshore. In recent years, she's worked as a quality director at Johnson Controls in West Union.
House District 26: Democrat John Kraljevich, a Fort Mill historian, has been aggressively campaigning for months and has outraised Republican state Rep. Raye Felder, who works in insurance sales.