Representative Nancy Mace (RS.C.) defeated the primary challenger backed by the former president Donald Trump On Tuesday, Trump received another blow over his quest to punish Republicans who broke up with him.
Mace, a staunch fiscal conservative, prevailed over Katie Arrington, a former state legislator.
Arrington, who served in Trump’s Defense Department, slammed Mace for voting to authenticate the 2020 election results and criticizing Trump’s role in the January 6, 2021 US Capitol riot.
With the advantage of a major fundraising advantage and her own high-profile endorsement, however, Mays successfully argued that she was both “constitutionally conservative” and better equipped to preserve GOP control over the politically diverse district. She was
“It speaks volumes about their fundraising ability, their ability to get their message across to voters,” said Gibbs Knotts, a political scientist at the College of Charleston. “And it’s proof that Republicans were interested in keeping this seat in Republican hands.”
Mace is now due to take on Democratic nominee Annie Andrews, a pediatrician, in the general election. Mace favors holding the seat, which was redrawn this year for more conservative voters.
Mace’s victory in South Carolina’s first congressional district comes on the heels of primary results in Georgia that were equally disappointing for Trump.
But there are limits to the implications of GOP voters’ preferences in the coastal, Lowcountry region where Republicans maintain an independent streak.
“Certainly in the first congressional district, most of the base has overtaken Trump and is concerned about the election,” Knotts said.
Although the makeup of South Carolina’s 1 was more liberal in 2020, Arrington’s electoral history gave Mays ammunition to argue that Arrington was a risky bet for the Republicans.
In 2018, Arrington ousted the then-rep. Mark Sanford (R) In the primary, mainly because of Sanford’s outspoken criticism of Trump. She lost the seat in the general election to Democrat Joe Cunningham. Mace replaced Cunningham in the following election cycle.
In addition, Mays, who worked on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, strike a careful balance Criticizing Trump. Tom Rice, another Republican targeted by Trump, in a district north of Mace, Mace did not vote for impeachment for Trump’s role in inciting a US Capitol riot. However, she voted in contempt for former Trump adviser Steve Bannon for refusing to testify before Congress about his role in the violent incident.
Mace benefited from the support of two senior Trump administration officials: Nikki Haley, a former United Nations ambassador and governor of South Carolina; and Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s former chief of staff and member of the South Carolina Congress.
A leaked text-message exchange between Arrington and Mulvaney in March, when Mulvaney endorsed Mays, contributed to the sense that Arrington was a flawed candidate. In response to Arrington, her a “piece of crap” And questioning whether Mulvaney’s Catholicism had made him a poor choice for the Trump administration’s envoy to Northern Ireland, Mulvaney wrote, “You need to realize that you can be untenable.”