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GOP pours money into South Carolina's 1st Congressional District race days before election

Katie Arrington [L], Joe Cunningham (WCIV)

It’s a cash infusion on the campaign trail. Reports of Republican money fueling Katie Arrington's campaign have the candidate and her Democratic opponent working overtime.

A report from McClatchy DC reveals the National Republican Campaign Committee's independent expenditure arm is dumping $87,000 into the race.

Evidence of the GOP money trail can be seen on TV. New campaign ads from Katie Arrington are appearing now. The negative commercials are adding to the recent attack spots airing from Democrat Joe Cunningham. Both candidates are downplaying the role of money in spreading their message.

A lunchtime gathering of long-time Republican leaders in Summerville centers on issues and strategies for Katie Arrington. As the campaign road comes closer to the end, extra money from national GOP sources is entering the race.

"The RNC sees me as an asset. Somebody who will go to work for the people. And that's why they're investing," said Arrington, Republican candidate for Congress.

Arrington contends this election is different because an incumbent was defeated in the primary. That's why she believes in focusing on local and national concerns.

"I've been out doing flood solution roundtables with a real path forward when I get to Washington. I'm discussing border security, how to fund the border wall, making sure we have it," she said.

Her opponent -- Joe Cunningham -- hasn't received money from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. While spending time with supporters on Sullivans Island on Friday, he says he's keeping a simple strategy.

"We're not really focusing on gaining national attention. We've been running this race from day one on local issues, talking to local voters," Cunningham said.

Even though Cunningham has outraised Arrington, the political newcomer explains it’s his message of unity that many voters admire.

"Having bipartisan support has been strong. We've seen the Republican mayors who've come on board endorsing our campaign. We've got endorsements from The Post and Courier," he explained.

Both candidates agree on at least one issue: they trust voters to decide who should represent the Lowcountry in Congress.

President Trump won the district by 13 points. But some political scientists tell me this congressional race is probably closer than most people anticipated. That's why they say every vote is important.

If Cunningham wins, it’ll be the first time since 1981 a Democrat has held the seat in the first congressional district. If Arrington wins, she'll be the first woman to hold the seat since 1941. Absentee voting ends this Monday at 5pm.

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