Pediatrician unveils challenge to GOP's Mace in South Carolina

A South Carolina pediatrician has launched a bid to unseat Rep. Nancy MaceNancy MaceProtecting seniors from guardianship fraud and abuse House Democratic conference postponed due to COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Biden to make voting rights play in Atlanta MORE (R-S.C.), saying she hopes to oust the first-term lawmaker by running a campaign focused on COVID-19 and gun violence.

Annie Andrews, a Democrat in Lowcountry in South Carolina, jumped into the race for the 1st District with a two-minute video on Monday that accuses Mace of “pushing extremism and conspiracy theories that only divide us more.”

In the video, Andrews, an associate professor of pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina, goes after Mace for her frequent television appearances, saying she “refuses to stand up to her own party, and is more interested in being famous than effective.”

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Andrews said in the video she will focus her campaign on addressing climate change, protecting coastlines and fixing roads. She said she also seeks to tame gun violence — while including a clip of Mace holding a gun in the video.

Mace, one of more than a dozen Republican women elected to their first terms in the House last year, quickly made a name for herself in Washington by criticizing then-President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver dead at 77 Biden, Democrats losing ground with independent and suburban voters: poll Bipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law MORE in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

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The South Carolina Republican said she was in favor of Trump’s “accomplishments” from his first term, but argued that the Capitol riot “wiped out” those achievements.

She also broke from the majority of her party last month when she voted to refer ex-Trump White House strategist Stephen Bannon for criminal contempt after he ignored a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

Mace has also clashed with Democrats during her time in Congress. In February, she became involved in a public spat with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezMan who threatened to kill Ocasio-Cortez, Pelosi pleads guilty to federal charges These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Missouri House Democrat becomes latest to test positive for COVID-19 MORE after she questioned the New York Democrat’s account of the Jan. 6 riot.

The lawmaker also made headlines over the summer when her home was vandalized with graffiti.

Mace, when reached by The Hill for comment on Andrews’s campaign announcement, said, “Serving in Congress is the honor of my lifetime. I look forward to continuing to serve the 1st District.”

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South Carolina’s 1st District is a top target for Democrats heading into the 2022 midterms, as they look to retain their slim majority in the House.

The seat went blue in 2018 when former Rep. Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamMace chief of staff steps down during turbulent week Pediatrician unveils challenge to GOP's Mace in South Carolina 'Blue wave' Democrats eye comebacks after losing reelection MORE (D-S.C.) became the first Democrat to win the district since 1981, but Mace returned it to Republicans two years later. Cook Political Report rated the district "lean Democratic" in November 2020.

Andrews told The Post and Courier she decided to challenge Mace for the seat after recognizing “the failure of our elected officials to care about the kids and families of the district,” saying safeguarding children during the COVID-19 pandemic will be another prime focus of her campaign.

She said in her announcement video that the greatest threat facing children is the “failure of our elected officials to care about our children.”

“And that's why politicians here keep letting them down, from COVID, to gun violence, to the quality of their schools, to the very air they breathe. So I'm doing something that was never part of my plan. I'm running for Congress,” she added.

Andrews has been a pediatrician at the Medical University of South Carolina since 2009, according to her campaign website. She is also a gun violence prevention researcher and an active volunteer of Moms Demand Action, the grassroots gun violence prevention organization.

She is the first Democrat to jump into the House race for South Carolina’s 1st District. Military spouse Lynz Piper-Loomis, Army veteran and defense contractor T.J. Allen and Army veteran Ingrid Centurion have all announced primary challenges against Mace.