U.S. House District 5 candidate profiles

-A A +A

The following five candidates will be on the ballot for the U.S House Dictrict 5 congressional seat in the special election Tuesday, June 20. District 5 includes the Indina land and Van Wyck areas. All Panhandle polls will be open  7 a.m.-7 p.m. on Election Day.

Victor Kocher
Party: Libertarian
Age: 54
Residence: Columbia
Family: Divorced, no children
Education: Graduated from high school in 1980; received bachelor’s degree in business administration from West Virginia University in 1984 and a master’s in accounting there in 1986
Employment: Semi-retired, self-employed
Civic involvement: Involved in church and local community groups
Political experience: Ran as a Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate from South Carolina in 2014 and for S.C. House District 79 in 2016; lost both races
Top issues:
◆ National debt – Require a balance budget; change the way the government taxes; sell federal assets
◆ Insolvency of Social Security – Privatize Social Security
◆ Infringement of civil liberties – Stop civil-asset forfeiture and domestic-spying abuses; decriminalize the use of marijuana


David Kulma
Party: Green
Age: 32
Residence: Rock Hill
Family: Wife, Kristen; dog, Pollock
Education: Graduated from high school in 2003; received a bachelor’s degree in oboe performance and a master’s in music composition from Kent State University
Employment: Adjunct professor of music, Winthrop University
Civic involvement: None listed
Political experience: None
Top issues:
◆ Health care – Change to a single-payer, Medicare for all system. Everyone in, no one out. Your choice of doctor or hospital. Eliminate the paperwork and waste that comes with insurance companies and save over $400 billion a year. No one should have to put up a GoFundMe account to cover a medical bill.
◆ Education – Change to a system that puts all taxpayer money into public schools. No more money for private schools. A college-level education should be available to all at taxpayer expense at a college or technical school of the student’s choice. Eliminate all college debt. Wipe it away forever. Imagine if millions of Americans had an extra couple of hundred dollars a month to spend.
◆ Imprisonment – Our jails are modern-day plantations. People are forced to work to make profits for private corporations, because of the Exception Clause in the 13th amendment. Remove that clause and make a permanent end to slavery in the United States.
◆ Campaign donations – The core problem causing these, and many other problems, is the influence and control by very rich people through campaign donations and influence peddling. Until better campaign finance limits are in place, rich and well-connected people will get what they want.


Ralph Norman
Party: Republican
Age: 63
Residence: Rock Hill
Family: Elaine R. Norman, wife of 42 years, whose family is from Lancaster. They have a son, three daughters and 15 grandchildren.
Education: Graduated from Rock Hill High School in 1971; received bachelor’s degree in business from Presbyterian College in 1975
Employment: President, Warren Norman & Co., real estate development firm
Civic involvement: Past president, Rotary Club, York County Board of Realtors, York County Home Builders. Past board chairman, S.C. Bank and Trust. Board of Visitors, Medical University of South Carolina. Board member, Children’s Attention Home, Piedmont Medical Center, United Way, YMCA, Salvation Army, Winthrop Eagle Club. Recipient of the Order of the Palmetto
Political experience: S.C. House District 48, 2005-06 and 2009-17; unsuccessful run for 5th Congressional District in 2006
Top issues:
◆ Spending – Balance the budget and get America on a sound financial footing by eliminating needless regulations, ending payments to sanctuary cities, and reducing or eliminating a host of agencies that are no longer viable to the taxpayers, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education.
◆ Tax reform – Reform the tax code to encourage new investment, which will create a thriving economy for our great country.
◆ National security – Fully fund our military. Build the wall between Mexico and the United States. Eliminate terror cells inside and outside the United States that pose threats to this country.
◆ Health care – Repeal Obamacare and replace it with a system that allows the purchase of insurance plans across state lines, increases health care savings accounts, allows competitive bidding and returns choices to the states.  


Archie Parnell
Party: Democrat
Age: 66
Residence: Sumter
Family: Wife, Sarah; daughters, Julia and Lydia
Education: Graduated from Edmunds High School in Sumter in 1968; received his undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina in 1971 and his law degree from USC in 1974
Employment: Retired; worked as a senior adviser on tax law for the Wall Street financial firm Goldman Sachs
Civic involvement: Treasurer at St. Stephen’s Chapel (Anglican), 2003-07
Political experience: None
Top issues:
◆ Health care – The Affordable Care Act needs to be fixed, with a clear-eyed, bipartisan approach that preserves its widespread coverage but addresses its flaws, particularly the high cost of prescription drugs. While the Veterans Administration is allowed to negotiate for the best possible drug prices, other federal programs are not.
And Medicare needs to be preserved. Just like Social Security, Medicare is a benefit that our older people have worked their whole life for. They’ve paid for it. They’ve earned it, and no one should take it away from them.
◆ Jobs and the economy – Our economy, particularly in South Carolina, is dependent upon having a well-trained workforce, world-class infrastructure to welcome already existing businesses and help encourage small-business owners and entrepreneurs, and a tax system that encourages large corporations to bring their income home from overseas to be taxed and re-injected back into the American economy. My background in tax policy in both the private and public sector has given me insight into how to get these corporations to bring the trillions of dollars they’ve trapped overseas back into the United States to be taxed and reinvested here, helping grow our business sector and giving working people a break on their taxes.
◆ Security – We live in troubled times, and America’s place as a world leader is threatened. While our borders need to be secured, we also need to understand the important economic role immigration plays, and cherish the contributions of those who have been here most of their lives and are proud to be patriotic Americans.
We need to have a strong, modern military, but we also need to hold up our bargain with the brave men and women who have fought for us and never forsake their need for opportunity, health care or mental well-being.


Josh Thornton
Party: American
Age: 41
Residence: Rock Hill
Family: Wife, April.; son, Wilson
Education: Graduated from high school in Mount Zion, Ill., in 1993; received bachelor’s degree in math education from Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., in 1997
Employment: Math teacher and technology catalyst, Trinity Episcopal School in Charlotte
Civic involvement: Volunteer, Hope Haven Inc.; Tyson’s Forest subdivision’s HOA Pool Committee
Political experience: None
Top issues:
◆ Health care – Develop a plan that is affordable, efficient and available. Make mental health care more available. Bar any public official who is receiving donations from the health care lobby or special interests from serving on a committee that is developing health-care legislation.
◆ Education – Focus funding on training and maintaining teachers instead of standardized testing. Create more vocational job-skill training for students to better prepare them for the jobs of the future. Train more teachers in accommodating students with special needs.
◆ Partisan gridlock – Try to eliminate the aisle by creating a Common Sense Caucus that would bring together center-leading legislators from both parties. This group eventually would determine the outcomes of most votes in the House and Senate. When the caucus grew large enough, there would not be enough votes from the right or the left for any bill to pass. Therefore, each side would need the support of the Common Sense Caucus to get any bill passed.