Trump makes last-minute pitch for Arrington in challenge to Mace in SC

Former President Trump on Sunday called former South Carolina state Rep. Katie Arrington’s (R) policies “perfect” in a last-minute pitch for her primary challenge this week to Rep. Nancy Mace (R), who has blamed Trump for the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

Trump endorsed Arrington in February one day after she announced her now-closely watched primary challenge in the coastal district, which will on Tuesday test the influence of Trump and debunked claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

“Katie Arrington’s policies are perfect, she’s a hard worker and she loves the great state of South Carolina, where she has the tremendous backing of almost all who know her — especially when she is compared to Nancy Mace!” Trump said in the statement released through his Save America PAC.

Mace has the backing of Republicans including Nikki Haley, Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations who previously served as South Carolina’s governor, and Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s former chief of staff and a former House lawmaker from the Palmetto State.

Haley was slated to stump for Mace on Sunday, with another appearance scheduled for Monday afternoon.

“Nancy fights Republicans all the time and is not at all nice about it,” Trump said on Sunday. “Frankly, she is despised by almost everyone, and who needs that in Congress, or in the Republican Party?”

Arrington defeated incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) in a 2018 House primary but lost to former Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) in the general election. 

Mace beat Cunningham two years later and is now running her first reelection campaign in a redrawn district.

“Politics is a local matter, and the 1st Congressional District knows these two candidates,” Austin McCubbin, Mace’s campaign manager, said in an email to The Hill on Monday. “They know that our opponent lost this seat to a Democrat for the first time in 40 years, and Nancy Mace was the fighter who won the seat back in 2020.”

McCubbin also criticized Arrington for supporting gas tax increases in the state in 2017, noting current high inflation levels.

Mace has drawn criticism from Trump after blaming him for the Capitol riot. 

Mace did not vote to impeach the former president, but she also did not object to certifying the 2020 election results and later voted to refer to the Justice Department a criminal contempt case against Trump ally Stephen Bannon that the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot brought.

Trump on Sunday also teased the possibility of mounting a third presidential campaign in 2024.

“Vote for Katie Arrington on Tuesday, and thank you for the great support I’ve had in South Carolina — two landslide victories, and who knows, maybe another one soon coming!” he said.

–Updated at 10:20 a.m.

Tags 2022 midterm elections 2022 midterms Donald Trump Katie Arrington Katie Arrington Katie Arrington Nancy Mace Nancy Mace Nancy Mace Nikki Haley South Carolina South Carolina South Carolina primary Trump endorsement
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