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South Carolina U.S. House delegation now complete with swearing-in of Republican Ralph Norman

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House Election South Carolina

Republican Ralph Norman speaks to supporters at a campaign party in Rock Hill, Tuesday, June 20, 2017, after winning the South Carolina's 5th Congressional District. AP Photo/Chuck Burton

WASHINGTON — South Carolina once again has seven members in its U.S. House delegation.

Republican Ralph Norman was sworn into office on the chamber floor Monday evening, as his six House colleagues looked on and friends and family watched from the visitors' gallery above.

Norman won the 5th District special election six days earlier to succeed Mick Mulvaney, who stepped down to become President Donald Trump's budget chief.

The pageantry was short and sweet. U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, the senior member of the delegation and lone Democrat, provided a biography of Norman, formerly a member of the South Carolina Legislature.

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, the second in seniority, called Norman's election a "dream come true."

He and his wife, eleven years ago, campaigned for Norman in his bid to unseat then-U.S. Rep. John Spratt, a Democrat who presided over the 5th District for years before losing to Mulvaney in 2010.

Norman took the House oath of office alongside Karen Handel, the Republican who also won a special election in Georgia last week in a much higher profile race. 

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Handel was brief in her remarks, quipping that people were sick of hearing about the most expensive congressional campaign in history.

Norman also kept his speech short. He asked his family to stand and be recognized in the visitors' gallery, calling them the "South Carolina Brady Bunch" — he has four children and 15 grandchildren — and alluded to something said by U.S. Democratic Rep. John Lewis, the dean of the Georgia delegation, in his remarks introducing Handel.

"As Congressman Lewis said, 'we're family,' " said Norman. "With the shooting of Steve Scalise, we're all Americans."

After the ceremonial proceedings, Wilson also could be seen taking Norman around the floor to be introduced to his new colleagues. House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows of North Carolina, who campaigned for Norman during the runoff election for the Republican nomination, came up to shake his hand. Norman has said he will join the Freedom Caucus. 

Norman also cast his first vote on a bill relating to streamlining license plate standards for members of the military, giving his family a thumbs up as they applauded the milestone.

The bill passed, 409-0.

Emma Dumain is The Post and Courier's Washington correspondent. Reach her at 843-834-0419 and follow her @emma_dumain.

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