Two Trump-Endorsed Republicans Secure Convincing Victories in South Carolina Primaries
© AP Photo / Meg KinnardState Rep. Russell Fry speaks to a crowd gathered to hear former President Donald Trump, Saturday, March 12, 2022, in Florence, S.C. Trump has endorsed Fry as one of two Republicans mounting primary challenges to incumbent House members who have been critical of him. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)
© AP Photo / Meg Kinnard
The 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference, one of the main events for the Republican Party, showed that the GOP is widely looking to follow the footsteps of former President Donald Trump. As such, his endorsements carry a strong weighting for candidates’ chances to succeed in party primaries.
Two out of three Republican candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump won party primaries in South Carolina on 14 June, and will fight for seats in the US House in November, according to preliminary results.
State lawmaker Russell Fry overwhelmingly defeated the incumbent House lawmaker Tom Rice in the 7th District's primary, gaining 51% versus Rice's 25% thus avoiding a runoff. Five-term congressman Rice had voted to impeach the former president following the Capitol Hill events of 6 January 2021 and accused him of trying to intimidate Congress.
Fry will be wrestling with Democrat Daryl Scott in November in a deep red district.
Another Trump endorsee, incumbent William Timmons, also secured a preliminary victory in South Carolina’s 4th District primary, defeating Mark Burns, who has close ties with Trump but not his endorsement. Timmons will be facing Democrat Ken Hill in November, as well as Constitution Party candidate Michael Chandler.
At the same time, one of Trump's endorsees, former congresswoman Katie Arrington, lost her primary race to Nancy Mace in the 1st District by a small margin. Mace received 53% of votes, but Arrington was not far behind with 45%.
Mace was endorsed by Trump's former UN ambassador and South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley but received scathing attacks from Trump after being critical of his actions on 6 January 2021. However, she never backed the impeachment effort and even later walked back her criticism.
Trump's Campaign to Oust RINOs From Congress
Following the second impeachment, Trump vowed to do everything in his power to ensure that ten House Republicans who backed the Democrats' initiative, and other GOP congresspeople who were critical of him, would not be re-elected.
Trump branded these lawmakers RINOs - Republicans in name only - and promised to endorse GOP candidates, who sought to challenge them in coming elections.
Trump's strategy will be tested in November during the midterms, which are currently predicted to bring a convincing victory to Republicans following numerous failures from the administration of Democrat Joe Biden and mounting problems in the country, such as rampant inflation.
The former president's influence in the Republican Party was indirectly confirmed by the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) conference in February 2021, where most of the speakers endorsed Trump's policies and hinted their support for him in case of any new attempt to run in 2024. Some of them suggested that the former president shaped the party's vision and agenda for coming years.
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