Spending in South Carolina House race breaks record

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CHARLESTON, S.C. --- The race in the 2nd Congressional District is shaping up to be the most expensive House contest ever waged in South Carolina, as candidate spending approaches $6 million.

Federal Election Commission reports filed over the weekend show incumbent Republican Joe Wilson and Democratic challenger Rob Miller had combined to spend $5.8 million as of the end of September.

The reports show the candidates had $1.5 million more combined on hand for the last month of the campaign.

Wilson is running against Miller in a rematch of their race of two years ago in which they spent only $1.8 million combined.

Wilson gained notoriety outside the state for shouting "You lie!" at President Obama during a health care speech to Congress in September 2009. Money poured into both campaigns after Wilson heckled the president.

For the last weeks of the campaign, Wilson has more than $1 million on hand. Miller had $519,000 to campaign in the district reaching from the Midlands south to the coast.

The average spending by a House candidate has been $650,000 this election season, according to opensecrets.org, which tracks campaign financing around the country.

The group said the most expensive congressional race in South Carolina until this year was in 2006. That year, incumbent Democrat John Spratt defeated Republican Ralph Norman in the 5th District on the northern edge of the state in a race where the two candidates together spent $3.6 million.

Travel travails

COLUMBIA --- Democrats are questioning U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson's description of "dodging mortar attacks" in a new campaign ad.

The ad that began airing throughout Wilson's 2nd District last weekend is a third attempt by Wilson to defend international travel that his Democratic opponent Rob Miller calls junkets.

"Rob Miller has been dishonest about me from day one," Wilson said in a prepared statement. "It is disappointing that, out of desperation, he would stoop so low to say visits to the troops are junkets."

Wilson's newest ad shows part of a story in the Washington newspaper The Hill that describes congressional travel this summer.

-- Associated Press

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