CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina has been ousted from Congress in his Republican primary after voting to impeach Donald Trump over the Jan. 6 insurrection. He is the first of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump to lose a reelection bid.
Rice, a five-term congressman, was defeated Tuesday by state Rep. Russell Fry, who was endorsed by Trump. Rice was a strong supporter of Trump’s policies in Washington but said he was left no choice but to impeach Trump over his failure to calm the mob that violently sought to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.
U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina also angered Trump, but she sought to make amends and won her GOP primary over her own Trump-backed challenger.
Key congressional races in Tuesday’s primary elections in Maine, Nevada, South Carolina and Texas:
TWO SOUTH CAROLINA REPUBLICANS WHO CROSSED TRUMP HAVE DIFFERENT FATES
Rice, who attracted a half-dozen GOP challengers after his vote to impeach Trump, had stood by his decision, acknowledging that it could lead to his ouster but saying he followed his conscience.
Fry, the House majority whip, has served in the South Carolina state House since 2015. Trump had campaigned with Fry earlier this year in the 7th Congressional District, a Republican stronghold that includes the tourist hotspot of Myrtle Beach and a number of inland, rural areas.
Trump had vowed revenge against the 10 House Republicans who crossed party lines to impeach him. Four of the 10 decided against seeking reelection. A fifth, Rep. David Valadao of California, is still waiting to hear the results of his primary election from last week; he is fighting for the second spot in a race where the top two finishers advance to the general election in November.
Trump had less luck in his quest to oust Mace, who managed to hold off a primary challenge Tuesday from former state Rep. Katie Arrington in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, which includes Charleston. Despite his anger toward Mace for criticizing him over his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, he congratulated her Tuesday and predicted she would win in November.
In her victory speech, Mace thanked her high-profile endorsers, including former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
Asked how she would work to keep the district, which has changed political hands in the last two election cycles, Mace seemed to commit to the same bipartisan outreach for which Arrington had criticized her.
“I am willing to work with anyone who’s willing to work with me, full stop,” Mace told reporters.
Unlike Rice, Mace sought to make amends for angering Trump. Earlier this year, she filmed a video in New York outside Trump Tower to remind her constituents that she was one of the former president’s earliest supporters.
Mace will face Democrat Annie Andrews in the general election.