On Tuesday night in South Carolina, former President Donald Trump put a scalp on the wall… but it wasn’t incumbent congresswoman Nancy Mace from the first district.
Despite facing the full force of the MAGA movement, Mace defeated former state representative Katie Arrington in a bitter proxy war in the Palmetto State Lowcountry, delivering a decisive blow to her former “First in the South” employer.
Trump won the seventh congressional district up the coast, but the Mace race was a personal one for him…
With nearly all precincts reporting, Mace had 33,398 votes (or 53.1 percent of total votes cast), compared to 28,439 votes (or 45.2%) for Arrington.
The election for Mace was called by the Associated Press at 11:20 p.m. EDT on Tuesday.
Trump attempted to spin the results in a message posted to his Truth Social page, while also extending an olive branch to Mace ahead of her general election fight against Democratic nominee Annie Andrews.
“Katie Arrington was a long shot, but she ran a fantastic race and far outperformed her expectations,” Trump wrote. “Congratulations to Nancy Mace on easily defeating her Democratic opponent!”
Mace’s victory is a huge (yuge?) win for her, but it’s also a win for former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, who endorsed the incumbent just before Trump endorsed Arrington. Haley helped Mace’s campaign raise a lot of money and appeared in television ads on her behalf. In the final 48 hours of the election, she barnstormed the district with her.
“South Carolina is having a fantastic day!” During her six years as governor of the Palmetto State, from 2011 to 2017, Haley used the same catchphrase. “Our congresswoman, Nancy Mace, received a big boost from the Lowcountry. Nancy has fought for us; now we must fight for her as well. Let’s band together to defend the First Amendment and keep this seat red in November.”
In addition to correctly predicting the result in the first congressional district, Haley avoided getting involved in the seventh congressional district, where Trump-backed challenger Russell Fry defeated incumbent Tom Rice by a considerably larger margin than projected.
Rice was one of ten Republican senators who voted to impeach Trump in January for his claimed participation in instigating unrest at the United States Capitol. He — and his wife – went all-in on that vote as well.
Despite the fact that Mace did not vote to impeach Trump, she (along with Haley) attacked him in the aftermath.
“Everything he’s worked for… all of that was wiped out yesterday — his entire legacy,” Mace remarked the day after the violence.
Trump has “lost any form of political viability he was going to have,” according to Haley.
“I don’t believe he’ll be in the picture.” I don’t think he’ll be able to. “He’s come such a long way,” Haley noted at the time. “I don’t believe he’ll be in the picture.” I don’t think he’ll be able to. He’s sunk so low.”
“He took a road he shouldn’t have taken, and we shouldn’t have followed him or listened to him,” Haley continued. “And we’re not going to let that happen again.”
Trump retaliated by calling Mace “crazy” during a rally in Florence, South Carolina earlier this year.
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Trump called Mace and Rice “grandstanding losers” and stated, “She’s a terrible person and she has no idea what she’s doing.”
In 2018, Arrington defeated former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford in the primary for this seat, but lost in the general election to Democrat Joe Cunningham.
Although Arrington called Mace a “liar” and demanded she apologise to her over allegations made during the campaign concerning Arrington’s work at the US Department of Defense, she conceded the victory to Mace and promised to work with her to beat Andrews in the fall (DOD).