Nancy Mace Faces Tough Challenge from Kevin McCarthy-Backed Rival in South Carolina’s 1st District Race

The race for South Carolina’s first Congressional District is becoming a significant battleground between Republican Congresswoman Nancy Mace and former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy.

Mace, who is running for a third term, previously voted to oust McCarthy from his position as Speaker, leading to McCarthy’s active support of her primary challenger, Catherine Templeton.

Templeton, who formerly served as the director of the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, has received financial backing from McCarthy’s political action committee, Majority Committee PAC, signaling a direct challenge against Mace.

Mace’s challenge is further complicated by Templeton’s endorsement from notable Republican figures such as former Speaker Newt Gingrich and South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson. Despite this, Templeton did not secure an endorsement from former President Donald Trump.

Nancy Mace vs. Kevin McCarthy's Pick South Carolina's 1st District Showdown.
Nancy Mace vs. Kevin McCarthy’s Pick South Carolina’s 1st District Showdown.

Trump, who had previously endorsed Mace’s primary challenger in 2022, reversed his stance and endorsed Mace on Truth Social, urging his supporters in South Carolina to vote for her.

The relationship between Mace and Trump has been complex, especially following the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. While Mace voted against impeaching Trump, she publicly criticized him for his role in the events.

Despite this rocky history, Mace endorsed Trump’s 2024 presidential bid, emphasizing the need for unity within the party and expressing frustration with the political chaos following Trump’s departure from the White House.

Polling data indicates a competitive race, with an Emerson College/The Hill survey showing Mace leading Templeton but not by a margin large enough to avoid a runoff.

South Carolina’s primary rules require a candidate to secure more than 50% of the votes to win outright. If neither candidate achieves this majority, a runoff will be held on June 25, extending the contest.

As South Carolina voters prepare to head to the polls, the primary race remains intense. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, and the outcome will determine whether Mace, a prominent figure in the anti-McCarthy movement, can retain her seat or if Templeton, backed by McCarthy and other significant GOP figures, will succeed in her challenge.

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