GOP candidate vows to continue campaign in first public comments since car crash

GOP candidate vows to continue campaign in first public comments since car crash
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South Carolina Republican congressional candidate Katie Arrington on Friday thanked God for sparing her life and promised to continue her campaign in her first public remarks since being seriously injured in a car crash nearly two weeks ago.

Arrington, who was injured just weeks after her surprise primary victory over Rep. Mark SanfordMarshall (Mark) Clement SanfordMulvaney: Trump regularly asks why Roy Moore lost Dems vow to grab Trump tax returns upon taking majority Insurgency shakes up Democratic establishment MORE (R-S.C.), addressed the public upon her release from the Medical University of South Carolina, where she's been treated since the June 23 crash. 

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Appearing in a wheelchair while flanked by her doctor, her husband and her attorney, Arrington heaped praise on the hospital staff and her support system for helping her as she suffered from multiple fractures and underwent surgical procedures to remove parts of her colon and small intestine as well as stabilize an artery.

 Arrington still has a long road to recovery and said she remains in pain — she's expected to make a full recovery, but her doctor said that she'll have to limit her physical activity for at least another month. But the congressional candidate told the assembled reporters and supporters that she plans to keep campaigning.

"I'm going to take doctor's orders very seriously, I don't want these injuries to prevent me from living a full, energetic lifestyle, so I'm going to take the time," she said. "But this campaign has never stopped for me. This is hard work, perseverance to get to Washington to represent this community, this district and this nation and it hasn't stopped."

Arrington was the passenger in a car being driven by her friend, Jacqueline Goff, as they were headed to an award ceremony where Arrington was being honored. Her car was struck by another vehicle traveling the wrong direction on the highway, Arrington's campaign said. 

Arrington asked those in the audience on Friday to keep Goff in their prayers as she remains in the hospital, and went on to send her prayers to the family of the woman driving the other car, who died in the crash. 

She said the wreck has committed her to addressing issues in the health-care system, noting the lack of specialized trauma centers in the region. 

"These are things now that are engrained in my heart, that God had a purpose and a reason. Now I need to fix those things," she said, adding that if the crash happened "2 to 3 miles down the road, I may not have lived" because she wouldn't have been taken to a hospital with a trauma center. 

Arrington defeated Sanford in a shocking primary last month where she promised to be a stalwart supporter of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE while in office. Sanford has notably broken with the president during his time in Congress, a break that became one of the defining features of the race. 

She will face Democrat Joe Cunningham in November's general election in the Republican-leaning district. Cunningham halted his campaign in the days after the crash but has begun to hit the campaign trail again.

The State reported this week that South Carolina Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottOvernight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Trump to visit North Carolina on Wednesday in aftermath of Florence Cruz gets help from Senate GOP in face of serious challenge from O’Rourke MORE (R) will also hit the campaign trail to help Arrington while she recovers. 

--Updated at 5:06 p.m.