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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Sheri Biggs, a nurse practitioner and Air National Guard officer, won the Republican nomination for the U.S. House in South Carolina's 3rd District on Tuesday, defeating a challenger who called himself former President Donald Trump's pastor.

In November, Biggs will be a heavy favorite in the most Republican district in GOP-dominated South Carolina. She was backed by Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, who she and her husband have been longtime friends and financial backers.

Biggs defeated Mark Burns, a Black pastor who has been by Trump's side for nearly a decade and has unsuccessfully run for Congress twice before.

This was Biggs' first run for political office and if she wins in November, she will be only the second Republican woman South Carolina has sent to Congress. U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace is still serving for the 1st District.

Biggs said Tuesday evening that she will help heal the nation's mental, fiscal, and spiritual problems and promised to defend conservative values.

''I stand here ready to not only win this seat in November but also to help President Trump win back the White House,'' Biggs said in a statement on social media.

The seat is open after Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan decided not to run again after seven terms. Duncan's wife of 35 years filed for divorce in 2023, accusing him of several affairs.

Biggs will face the Democratic nominee, Sherwin-Williams paint store manager Byron Best from Greenwood, and Michael Bedenbaugh, of the Alliance Party, in November.

The district in the northwest corner of the state contains several small population centers.

While longtime friends Trump and McMaster were on opposite sides, there was no apparent animosity between the endorsers. McMaster did campaign in person for Biggs, while Trump didn't make a visit to South Carolina for Burns.

McMaster and Trump go back a long way. McMaster was the nation's first statewide elected official to back Trump in early 2016. Trump said when he became president he asked then-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to become U.N. Ambassador so McMaster could move from lieutenant governor to the state's top job.

Biggs and Burns had similar, popular views for Republicans, like ending nearly all abortions, closing the border and fighting inflation, as well as a total disdain for ideas from Democrats.

Burns won the June 11 primary with 33% of the vote, but Biggs was just a few points behind.

With similar agendas, the two-week sprint to the runoff was more about style. Burns called Biggs a ''swamp creature'' who wouldn't fight the establishment

Biggs, who is a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard, said Burns misconstrued his academic and military background and voted for former Democratic President Barack Obama. Biggs has promoted pictures of her taken with Trump and said she is the candidate who can bring people together.

Both candidates have invested heavily from their own money. Biggs loaned her campaign nearly $350,000 while raising an additional $182,000 from individual donors.

Burns has taken out $500,000 in loans for the 2024 campaign and raised a little over $16,000 from individuals. He still owes a $100,000 loan from an unsuccessful 2022 run in the neighboring 4th District. And unlike Biggs, Burns has not filed a required ethics disclosure form detailing his personal finances, which would give a glimpse into his personal worth and ability to pay the loans back.

In Lexington County, just west of Columbia, voters rejected the last of the three Republican ''Sister Senators,'' who helped defeat a near-total abortion ban in South Carolina.

Attorney Carlisle Kennedy defeated state Sen. Katrina Shealy in a runoff, ending her 12-year career in the Senate. Kennedy has no opposition in the November general election.

Kennedy finished second in the June 11 primary with 36% of the vote to Shealy's 40%, but was able to consolidate votes from those who didn't want to return Shealy to the Statehouse.

Shealy, along with fellow Republican Sens. Sandy Senn and Penry Gustafson, were given the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award for people who risk their careers for the greater good after they joined with Democratic lawmakers last year over the abortion measure. The General Assembly eventually passed a measure that would ban most abortions after around six weeks of pregnancy — before most people know they are pregnant.

The Sister Senators said a pregnant woman shouldn't lose control of her body as soon as an egg is fertilized.

Senn lost her primary by 33 votes, while Gustafson got only 18% of the vote. They both were in Lexington County campaigning Tuesday for Shealy.

Outside of a Democratic senator mostly drawn out of his district due to redistricting, the women are the only ones in the 46-seat South Carolina Senate to lose their reelection bids.

Shealy told reporters Tuesday night she doesn't think her political career is over. She said she plans to spend the next four years going after the chief backers of the total abortion ban in the state House and Senate who she thinks unfairly attacked her.

''I'm going after them with all I've got,'' Shealy said.

Kennedy thanked voters and Shealy for her service to Lexington County in a Tuesday night statement on Facebook.

''My goal is to make sure our community and our state are a great place to live, work, and raise a family," Kennedy wrote. ''I will uphold our conservative principles and make sure your voices are heard.''