Republican incumbent Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina currently holds a small lead over her primary challenger, Trump-endorsed former South Carolina state Rep. Katie Arrington, a new poll shows.
Published Wednesday, the Trafalgar Group poll shows that, if the election were held today, 46% of those surveyed in the state’s 1st Congressional District said they would vote for Mace, while 41% would vote for Arrington.
Two weeks before the June 14 primary, 13% remained undecided.
Mace has been criticized by former President Donald Trump for certifying the 2020 presidential election, which he has repeatedly claimed was fraudulent.
Arrington squared off against then-Rep. Mark Sanford in a 2018 primary, but lost the general election to Democrat Rep. Joe Cunningham, partly due to her position on offshore drilling. With Cunningham’s election, the district was represented by a Democrat for the first time in 40 years, according to the Washington Examiner.
Mace then defeated Cunningham in 2020, becoming the first Republican woman elected to Congress from South Carolina, according to ABC News.
At their only debate last month, Arrington criticized Mace’s more centrist position within the party, saying she has “read the room wrong.”
"That is not what we sent her up to Washington to do," Arrington reportedly said at the time. "We sent Rep. Mace because she was Trump-endorsed and said she was 'America first.' And the moment that she got up there, she turned her back on us, and then she turned her back on President Trump."
Maintaining that the district wants a representative who understands it "marches to the beat of its own drum," Mace questioned whether Arrington is electable.
"I'm the only candidate up here who knows how to beat a Democrat in this day and age in this district," she said during the debate. "I promised that I would work hard; I promised to be an independent voice; and I promised not to tow the party line when they taxed too much and spent too much in this country."
According to ABC, Mace had a campaign war chest of more than $3.8 million as of the end of March, nearly $1 million of which came in the weeks after Trump endorsed Arrington. In the first quarter, Arrington said she brought in about $814,000, $525,000 of which was in the form of a loan from herself.
The winner of the 1st District Republican primary will face Democratic nominee Dr. Annie Andrews, who faces no primary opposition, in the November general election.
The poll was conducted May 26-29 and surveyed 556 likely Republican primary voters. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.
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