Trump Tweet Helps Sink Mark Sanford In South Carolina Primary

Cheryl Sanders
June 13, 2018

With 98% of the vote counted, USA media called the race for state representative Katie Arrington, who led Sanford by 50.5% to 46.5%. But as Sanford spoke to the crowd, the race was still too close to call. He tweeted: "Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA".

"He's MIA and nothing but trouble", Trump continued.

State coordinators who I spoke to a few minutes ago say they expected it to be a little more competitive at the top of the ticket.

With 98-percent of precincts reporting, Arrington led the race by about 2,500 votes - enough to avoid a runoff and secure the Republican nomination.

All three incumbents faced accusation of being insufficiently supportive of the president.

Trump Tweet Helps Sink Mark Sanford In South Carolina Primary

Sanford conceded the race late Tuesday and commented on Trump's tweet.

Sanford was critical of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, and has found himself on opposite sides with the president since.

She also tried to tap into longtime uneasiness with the incumbent, who's been a familiar name to Lowcountry voters. State Representative James Smith won the Democratic nomination for governor.

The swipe was a reference to Sanford's unexplained disappearance from the state in 2009, which he later said was part of an affair he was carrying on with a woman in Argentina.

Sanford said Tuesday night that "I stand by every one of those decisions to disagree with the president". Sanford even survived a very public adultery scandal to win re-election in the 1st District in a 2013 special election. Voters will settle about 30 primary battles for state legislative seats.

Arrington has also referred to Sanford's affair. It is the first race Sanford has lost over his 25 years in politics.

Of course the 47-year-old businesswoman didn't need Trump's eleventh hour support to dispatch the heavily favored incumbent - who lost an election for the first time in his 24-year political career.

Tuesday's defeat marks the first time he has lost an election in SC since he ran for Congress for the first time in 1994.

"It is time to turn the page on the Sanford era", Arrington told Fox News earlier this week. "I know a lot of people here in South Carolina, particularly of my age demographic-are exhausted of what they view as a good old boys club", said Emory Roberts, Political Director, South Carolina Young Republicans. Mark Meadows, the chair of the Freedom Caucus and a Trump confidante, said in a statement: "Mark Sanford has been a valued member of the Freedom Caucus and certainly has been a thoughtful member of Congress". He's called out the president for his rhetoric, saying he was "partially to blame" for the kind of incivility that led to the shooting at the GOP congressional baseball team's practice a year ago.

So far, CNN has been unable to project a victor in the Maine House District or either the Democrat or Republican primary for Maine governor. In this case, the effect will prove salutary, I believe.

Arrington argued that Sanford stakes out positions just to be contrarian. The president's record of keeping his promises resonates across the district. "Climate change is something that has happened naturally, that's why we are not living on ice anymore".

Sanford's defeat carries national implications as Republicans scramble to field their best candidates ahead of November's mid-term elections when they face energized Democrats desperate to retake control of Congress.

Five women and six men, including one Republican and four Democrats, are vying to replace LePage, the unpopular governor and Trump ally.

The general election is set for November 6.

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