By Vicki Needham - 11/03/10 04:56 AM EDT
House Budget Chairman John Spratt (D-S.C.) lost his bid for a 15th term on Tuesday night after a hard-fought race.
Spratt was defeated by Mick Mulvaney, a real estate developer turned state senator in a district that hasn't sent a Republican to Congress more than 100 years.
Still, Spratt's Republican-leaning district was ripe for the picking by the GOP this year and Spratt ran behind in the polls for most of the race despite his popularity. The district voted for John McCainJohn McCainPrimary opponent: McCain has 'issues about race' Clinton, Trump sharpen attacks The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE in 2008.
Republicans ran ads against Spratt, saying he was at the beck-and-call of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and was voting for her agenda, not what was important to South Carolina.
He voted for cap-and-trade legislation, the stimulus and healthcare reform — votes the GOP reminded the electorate about in its campaign ads.
Further chipping away at Spratt's chances was the fact that his committee didn't produce a fiscal 2011 budget this year because House Democratic leadership couldn't get the votes to adopt a blueprint.
Instead, the House moved an alternative budget that set spending levels but didn't include future deficits. Still, the House didn't pass any of its appropriations bills in a volatile political year.
Spratt trailed Mulvaney by 10 points leading up to the election, according to The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll.
He lost 55 percent to 45 percent, according to The Associated Press.
Mulvaney was ahead with independents by 23 points and he led among male, female, middle-aged and older voters.
Mulvaney had the backing of the tea party movement and had been endorsed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and gormer Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has campaigned for him.