1980 United States Senate election in South Carolina

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United States Senate election in South Carolina, 1980

← 1974 November 4, 1980 1986 →
  FritzHollings.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Ernest Hollings Marshall Mays
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 612,556 257,946
Percentage 70.4% 29.6%

South Carolina Senate Election Results by County, 1980.svg
Results by county
Hollings:      50-59%      60-69%      70-79%      80-89%

U.S. Senator before election

Ernest Hollings

Elected U.S. Senator

Ernest Hollings

The 1980 South Carolina United States Senate election was held on November 4, 1980 to select the U.S. Senator from the state of South Carolina. Incumbent Democratic Senator Fritz Hollings easily defeated Republican challenger Marshall Mays to win his third full term.

Democratic primary[edit]

The South Carolina Democratic Party held their primary for Senator on June 10, 1980. Fritz Hollings, the incumbent Senator, won the Democratic primary against two minor candidates; Nettie Durant Dickerson and William Kreml.

Democratic Primary
Candidate Votes %
Fritz Hollings 266,796 81.2%
Nettie Durant Dickerson 34,720 10.6%
William P. Kreml 27,049 8.2%

Republican primary[edit]

The South Carolina Republican Party held their primary on June 10, 1980. Marshall Mays, a former state legislator, emerged as the frontrunner and went on to defeat Charlie Rhodes in the runoff election on June 24.

Republican Primary
Candidate Votes %
Marshall Mays 14,075 42.6%
Charlie Rhodes 11,395 34.5%
Robert Carley 7,575 22.9%
Republican Primary Runoff
Candidate Votes % ±%
Marshall Mays 6,853 64.8% +22.2%
Charlie Rhodes 3,717 35.2% +0.7%

General election campaign[edit]

The Republican Party did not see the race as winnable and Mays received little assistance for his campaign. Hollings did little campaigning for the race and easily won re-election in the midst of an otherwise strong Republican year.

General election results[edit]

South Carolina U.S. Senate Election, 1980
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Fritz Hollings 612,556 70.4% +1.0%
Republican Marshall Mays 257,946 29.6% +0.9%
No party Write-Ins 94 0.0% 0.0%
Majority 354,610 40.8% +0.1%
Turnout 870,596 70.5% +19.2%
Democratic hold

See also[edit]


  • State Election Commission (1981). Report of the South Carolina Election Commission for the Period Ending June 30, 1981. Columbia, SC. pp. 30, 33, 35, 37.