MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - South Carolina first congressional candidate Katie Arrington formally conceded the first congressional district race to Joe Cunningham Wednesday morning in Mount Pleasant.
“I just got off the phone with Mr. Cunningham and I did concede the race to him and I congratulated him.” Arrington said. “Nobody has ever called and congratulated me, but this is about this community.”
She went on to thank Jesus, her children, her husband, and her donors for their support.
“I love you and we are not done,” she said. " Thank you for everything you gave to this campaign. Thank you to all the supporters who rallied around me. Thank you, thank you, thank you. How blessed am I to be able to walk and wave and be your voice."
She also took a moment to call out Mark Sanford, who opted not to endorse either candidate in the race.
“We lost because Mark Sanford could not understand this was about the conservative movement and not him,” she said. “Mark Sanford, to all of your donors, I asked of them this morning to request their donation back if they are truly conservatives to your wonderful chest that you’ve kept so proud and for so long.”
Charleston County GOP Chairman Larry Kobrovsky says he’s disappointed Sanford did not endorse Arrington.
“I can understand being upset about losing the primary, but whatever differences he had with Katie look, Katie lost by one percent and Mark sat on the sidelines,” Kobrovsky said. " Where was Mark when we were there for him, I thought that he should have been there to endorse her and put service above self."
Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin was one of two Lowcountry Republican mayors who endorsed Cunningham.
Goodwin quoted a former president when talking about the outcome of the election.
"When you run a campaign, President Nixon said, ‘Don’t hate the folks who hate you because all you do is lose in the end,’ Goodwin said.
Arrington tried to take her last words as a candidate to end on an upbeat note.
“I’m not going anywhere,” she said. “This is just a break in time. Good luck, Mr. Cunningham. God bless the United States, God Bless South Carolina and y’all have a great day because it is a great day in South Carolina.”
Supporters gathered expecting a win for their candidate before packing up early Wednesday morning. At that time, no clear winner was decided.
Arrington defeated Sanford in the Republican primary earlier this year and then survived a car accident in June that left her critically injured and bounced back to fight an aggressive campaign against her opponent.
She answered critics who called her a puppet of President Donald Trump saying she has her own agenda that includes pushing for low taxes, building infrastructure and being tough on immigration.
Arrington had been quoted as calling the race between her and Cunningham a fight between “good versus evil.”