Mace fights Arrington in GOP primary after defying Trump

Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 5:59 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 14, 2022 at 6:40 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - Lowcountry voters are selecting between an incumbent who defied former President Donald Trump and a challenger who received his endorsement in the First Congressional District race.

Rep. Nancy Mace is defending her seat in the GOP primary against challenger Katie Arrington.

Mace defeated one-term Congressman Joe Cunningham, who is now running for governor, in 2020. Speaking outside her polling place Tuesday, Mace said higher taxes lead to inflation.

“I’m the only candidate in this race that has never voted to raise taxes,” she said. “My opponent voted for the highest tax hike in South Carolina history that’s contributing to our problems in the country with prices right now.”

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, whom Trump appointed to serve as Ambassador to the United Nations, endorsed Mace, calling her a fighter and “strong pro-life mom and a tax cutter.”

“Nancy Mace is tough as nails,” Haley said in a political ad. “She won this seat from a liberal Democrat and she will keep it Republican.”

Arrington ran unsuccessfully against Cunningham in 2018 after besting former Congressman Mark Sanford in his re-election campaign. But Arrington said she expects to win this primary as she cast her ballot in Summerville.

“Nancy Mace is out there trying to tell everybody this is a purple district. It is not a purple district,” Arrington said. “We are a hard Conservative district and the only Republican who can beat a Democratic candidate is me because I am the true conservative.”

Mace was one of two House Republicans from South Carolina who criticized Trump after the Jan. 6 insurrection, but unlike fellow Republican Rep. Tom Rice, who represents the state’s Seventh Congressional District, Mace did not vote to impeach the former president.

Trump released a statement endorsing Arrington in February.

“Katie is strong on the military, our great vets, law enforcement, the border and will fight very hard for our under-siege Second Amendment and lower taxes,” Trump said.

Polls remain open until 7 p.m.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.