Updated Jun 15, 2022 - Politics & Policy

S.C. Rep. Nancy Mace beats Trump-backed challenger

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.). Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) on Tuesday beat back a primary challenge from former state legislator and Pentagon official Katie Arrington, according to AP.

Why it matters: Former President Trump endorsed Arrington as part of his crusade to stamp out perceived disloyalty within the Republican Party, and her loss adds to a growing list of failed Trump-backed candidacies.

The backdrop: Mace stoked Trump's wrath last January with her vote to certify President Biden's 2020 election victory, and then again in October by voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress.

  • When the former president endorsed Arrington in February, Mace filmed a video in front of Trump Tower in which she slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and called herself one of Trump's "earliest supporters."
  • Arrington has run ads casting Mace as a "liberal" and an ally of progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
  • For her part, Arrington faced questions about her suspension from the Pentagon last May over accusations she improperly disclosed classified information.

Flashback: Arrington ran for the seat in 2018, successfully primarying Republican Mark Sanford but losing the general election to Democrat Joe Cunningham.

  • Mace, a former state legislator, won the seat from Cunningham in 2020.

The big picture: While Trump-endorsed candidates have tended to come out on top in GOP primaries this cycle, he has had several high-profile losses.

  • The most notable example is Georgia, where most of his picks for statewide office lost and several of his other endorsees are in runoffs.

What they're saying: "It’s a great day in South Carolina," Trump-era United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said in a statement.

  • Haley, a former South Carolina governor, was one of Mace's most prominent and vocal supporters, even as her endorsement pitted her against her former boss.

What's next: While the seat has changed hands multiple times in recent cycles, Cook Political Report rates it as solidly Republican given the national environment.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Haley.

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