Republicans Who Criticized Trump Face Tough Primaries

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(Newser)

Two Republican US House incumbents in South Carolina who have drawn the ire of former President Donald Trump now find themselves facing tough primary challenges on Tuesday from candidates he has endorsed. Reps. Nancy Mace and Tom Rice criticized Trump after the Jan. 6 insurrection, with Rice among the 10 House Republicans who crossed party lines to vote to impeach him, the AP reports. Rice, a five-term congressman, attracted a half-dozen GOP challengers after his vote to impeach Trump. All have cited the vote as a mark of disloyalty to both the former president and Rice’s constituents in the 7th Congressional District, which heavily supported Trump in his two campaigns.

Trump has endorsed state Rep. Russell Fry in the race. Rice, an otherwise consistent supporter of Trump’s policies, has stood by his vote, acknowledging it may lead to his ouster but saying he followed his conscience. With a field of seven Republicans, it’s likely no candidate will capture more than 50% of the vote and the primary will head to a June 28 runoff. Taking a somewhat different approach, Rep. Nancy Mace has sought to make amends for angering Trump, filming a video in New York this year outside Trump Tower to remind her constituents that she was one of the former president’s “earliest supporters.” She worked for his 2016 campaign and had his backing in her 2020 run.

Besides criticizing Trump for the Jan. 6 riot, Mace went against the former president’s wishes by voting to certify President Biden’s win in the 2020 election. Trump is supporting Mace’s opponent, former state Rep. Katie Arrington, who won the GOP nomination for the seat in 2018 by defeating incumbent Mark Sanford. She went on to lose the seat to Joe Cunningham in the general election in Democrats’ first flip of a South Carolina seat in decades. Elsewhere:

  • Nevada. Danny Tarkanian, son of legendary University of Nevada, Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, is trying to knock off six-term incumbent Rep. Mark Amodei in a sprawling, rural northern district that no Democrat has won in its 40 years.
  • Maine. A former congressman wants his old seat back in Maine, but he must first hold off a challenge from a fellow Republican in the largely rural, politically mixed district. Bruce Poliquin represented Maine’s 2nd Congressional District from 2015 to 2019 until losing to Democratic Rep. Jared Golden. This year, Poliquin is hoping to win a rematch over Golden in one of the most closely watched races of the 2022 midterms. To get there, he must stave off a primary challenge from Liz Caruso, the first selectwoman of the tiny town of Caratunk.
  • Texas. Whether Republicans can continue making gains with Hispanic voters—a top goal for the party in 2022—is getting an early test in a South Texas special election. Four candidates are running to finish the term of former Rep. Filemon Vela, a five-term Democrat who left Congress earlier this year to take a job in the private sector. They include Republican Mayra Flores, who won the GOP nomination for the seat in March.

(Read more Election 2022 stories.)

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