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US Rep. Nancy Mace overcomes McCarthy-backed challenger to win Republican primary in South Carolina

She will face a Democratic opponent in the general election in the 1st District — the closest thing South Carolina has to a swing district in the Republican-dominated state.
Nancy Mace
Posted at 5:37 AM, Jun 12, 2024

U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace has won the Republican nomination after a tumultuous second term in South Carolina that saw her go from a critic to an ally of former President Donald Trump and make headlines for plenty of things off the House floor.

Mace defeated challengers Catherine Templeton and Bill Young in voting that ended Tuesday. She will face a Democratic opponent in the general election in the 1st District, which is the closest thing South Carolina has to a swing district in the Republican-dominated state.

Trump’s endorsement — after he called her crazy and terrible in 2022 — is just one of many ways Mace has attracted a spotlight far greater than a typical second-term member of Congress.

She’s a regular on interview shows, often antagonizing the hosts. She calls for her party to moderate on abortion and marijuana but joined seven of the farthest right members to oust former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

McCarthy threw his weight against Mace and the other defectors. His political action committee gave a $10,000 contribution to Templeton, and the American Prosperity Alliance, where a McCarthy ally serves as a senior adviser, donated to a group called South Carolina Patriots PAC, which spent more than $2.1 million against Mace.

Mace has said her positions and beliefs aren’t erratic — she is just reflecting the values of the 1st District, which stretches from the centuries-old neighborhoods of Charleston down the coast to Beaufort County’s booming freshly built neighborhoods of retirees moving to South Carolina from somewhere else.

Mace, the first woman to graduate from South Carolina's military academy The Citadel, thanked her voters for tuning out the “senseless noise” from her opponents and realizing she is unafraid to stand up to powerful people.

“When you are the first woman to sit in The Citadel’s barber chair to get all of your hair chopped off, you don’t get your feelings hurt when you don’t get invited to the fancy cocktail parties in Washington, D.C.,” Mace said. “While sometimes I may be a caucus of one, I’m not alone because I’m not there for me — I’m there for each and every one of you.”

Mace's opponents argued that by seeming to land everywhere on issues, Mace is nowhere.

Templeton ran South Carolina’s health and environmental agency to some angst a decade ago and in her only political race finished third in the 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary won by Gov. Henry McMaster. Young is a Marine veteran and financial planner.

Templeton didn't mention Mace's name, but asked Tuesday for her voters to keep backing Republicans.

“I think it is safe to say everybody in here has the conservative values that we share, and in November we are all going to stand behind our president and we are all going to join together to support the Republican Party,” Templeton said.

In the Democratic primary, businessman and former International African American Museum CEO Michael Moore defeated Mac Deford, a Citadel graduate and lawyer for a couple of the larger bedroom communities in the district.

South Carolina lawmakers drew the district to be more Republican after the seat flipped for one term in 2018. The 1st District was the only congressional district won by Nikki Haley over Trump in the 2024 South Carolina Republican presidential primary.

The exterior of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Supreme Court

Supreme Court finds no bias against Black voters in South Carolina

AP via Scripps News
9:45 AM, May 23, 2024

4th District

For the second election in a row, U.S. Rep. William Timmons has fought off a spirited challenge in the Republican primary.

Timmons defeated state Rep. Adam Morgan, the leader of the state House Freedom Caucus who argued Timmons was too liberal.

Timmons’ divorce — and a widely shared Instagram post by a husband who said Timmons had an affair with his wife — complicated his reelection bid. Timmons has denied the allegations.

Timmons has Trump's endorsement as he seeks a fourth term in the district anchored by Greenville and Spartanburg,

Timmons was not in his district Tuesday night, instead staying in Washington, where Republicans only have a two vote majority in the U.S. House.

He said he was thankful his voters recognized his strong conservative record and saw through the “countless lies” from his opponent.

“In Washington I am focused on policy not headlines, on representing my constituents not myself, and working with my colleagues instead of working against them,” Timmons said in a statement on social media.

In November’s general election, Timmons will face Democrat Kathryn Harvey, who helps nonprofit organizations with marketing, fundraising and leadership, and Constitutional Party candidate Mark Hackett.

3rd District

South Carolina's 3rd District is open after Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan decided not to run again after seven terms. Duncan's wife of 35 years filed for divorce in 2023, accusing him of several affairs.

The Republican nomination is going to a runoff between a candidate endorsed by Trump and another endorsed by his good friend McMaster.

Mark Burns is a Black pastor who has backed Trump since before his first race for president and made it to the runoff after losing twice before in the GOP primary in the neighboring 4th District.

His opponent is nurse practitioner Sheri Biggs, who along with her husband have been faithful contributors and friends of McMaster for years.

They defeated five other candidates including South Carolina Rep. Stewart Jones and Kevin Bishop, who handled communications for U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham for more than two decades.

Sherwin-Williams paint store manager Byron Best from Greenwood won the Democratic nomination in the 3rd District.

Other races

The only other U.S. House incumbent facing a primary challenger is Republican Rep. Joe Wilson who won the party's nomination as he seeks a 12th full term in the 2nd District, which stretches from suburban areas around Columbia west and south toward Aiken.

Wilson will face David Robinson II. The U.S. Army veteran who enlisted after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and is an advocate for missing people after his son disappeared in the desert in Arizona won the Democratic primary.

Attorney Duke Buckner won the Republican 6th District primary and will face Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, who is seeking a 17th term in the state's majority-minority district that is bounded by areas around Charleston, Beaufort and Columbia.

In the 7th District Democratic primary, teacher Mal Hyman, who calls himself an independent Democrat, faces Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom veteran Daryl Scott. The winner takes on Republican U.S. Rep. Russel Fry, who is seeking a second term in the district that stretches from Myrtle Beach to Florence in the northeast part of the state.