Rep. Nancy Mace fends off Republican primary challenge in South Carolina

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) came out on top in Tuesday’s South Carolina 1st Congressional District primary election, the first contest of the year to feature one of the eight Republicans that voted to oust former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). 

Mace received 57.6% of the vote in the Palmetto State and will move on to the November general election, where she will be seeking a third term in Congress.

The 46-year-old congresswoman narrowly avoided a runoff election, which would have been triggered if she had received less than 50% of the vote.  

Mace was endorsed by former President Donald Trump. AP

Mace’s top challenger was former state official Catherine Templeton, who served under former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. 

Templeton, who received 28.8% of the vote Tuesday, had been buoyed by spending from super PACs with links to McCarthy. 

The former House speaker’s Majority Committee PAC contributed $10,000 to Templeton’s campaign in April, Federal Election Commission records show.  

The American Prosperity Alliance, which has ties to McCarthy, contributed $15,000 to South Carolina Patriots PAC, a group that spent more than $2.1 million to counter Mace and more than $400,000 in support of Templeton, according to the Washington Post. 

Marine veteran and financial planner Bill Young finished third in the 1st District GOP primary race, garnering 13.6% support.

Templeton fell short in her primary challenge against Mace. AP
Marine veteran and financial planner Bill Young finished third in the 1st District race. Bill Young For Congress

McCarthy, who resigned from Congress in the weeks after he was dethroned from the speakership, slammed Mace leading up to the election. 

“I hope Nancy gets the help she needs, I really do,” McCarthy told reporters in February. “I just hope she gets the help to straighten out her life. I mean, she’s got a lot of challenges.” 

“No one will stay working for her,” he added, referencing her problem retaining staffers. “You can’t have somebody who just flips and flops based upon what TV station she gets put on. You want someone who’s willing to work, and so I hope she gets that kind of help.”

Mace was endorsed by former President Donald Trump. 

She and seven other GOP reps – Bob Good (R-Va.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Ken Buck (R-Colo.), Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) and Eli Crane (R-Ariz.)  – banded together with a united Democrat conference to declare the office of speaker vacant by a vote of 216-210 last October. 

Buck resigned in March, before the end of his term. The rest of the eight are up for re-election in 2024 and some are facing stiff GOP primary challenges. 

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