Big Trump victory, race for Nev. Senate stopped

WASHINGTON – Donald Trump scored a significant victory in South Carolina on Tuesday, where his preferred nominee easily ousted five-year Rep. Tom Rice, the first Republican to be ousted from office after voting to impeach the former president last year. But another high-profile Trump GOP target in the state, Rep. Nancy Mace, managed to hold off a challenger.

Meanwhile in Nevada, Trump’s pick, Adam Laxalt, won his US Senate primary, defeating a populist candidate arguably more representative of the Trump base.

Findings from the last round of primaries:


Rice and Mace have been the subject of Trump’s anger since a mob of his supporters stormed the US Capitol to stop confirmation of President Joe Biden’s election victory.

your transgressions? Mace declared on national television that Trump’s “entire legacy was wiped out by the attack,” while Rice became a defector for aligning himself with a small group of Republicans who voted with Democrats for Trump’s second impeachment.


“He threw a tantrum that culminated in the sacking of the United States Capitol,” Rice told NBC News Monday. “It’s a direct attack on the Constitution and he should be held accountable.”

Voters ultimately gave mixed judgments about the duo, reflecting a split within the GOP over how to emerge from the Trump era. The largely rural district of Rice is representative of Trump’s America, where crossing the former president comes at a high cost. Even as Trump railed against both lawmakers, he decided to hold a rally in Rice’s district earlier this year.

That’s because Mace’s district, centered around Charleston, is full of moderate suburban voters who fled the GOP under Trump. It’s one of the few counties in an all-red state where Democrats have even been moderately competitive in congressional elections.

The results show that the Trump factor cannot be underestimated in firmly Republican territory, a potential red flag for other Republicans, including Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who also voted to impeach Trump and helped shake up the panel to chair the House of Representatives investigating the January 11 case. 6 attack. She faces a competitive primary from a Trump-backed challenger in August.


Another notable factor in the Mace contest: A proxy battle ensued between Trump, who is considering a 2024 White House campaign, and former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, who is also considering a run.

Trump backed former state Rep. Katie Arrington in the race, while Haley, a former South Carolina governor, effectively challenged Trump by fighting with Mace.


Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell don’t see eye to eye. A rare exception is Laxalt, who won the Nevada Republican Senate primary.

The two Republican leaders have not spoken to each other since December 2020, when McConnell acknowledged Biden defeated Trump. But both backed Laxalt, who defeated retired Army Captain Sam Brown, a West Point graduate and Purple Heart recipient who, as a conservative underdog, ran an unexpectedly strong campaign.

The mutual support that brought together the Trump and mainstream wings of the party demonstrates the intense focus Republicans have placed on flipping the seat of first-term Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, who is considered one of the most vulnerable senators .



A once-strong Democratic district in South Texas is now represented by a Republican after Mayra Flores won a special primary to end the term of former Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela, who resigned this year to become a lobbyist.

Flores, a GOP organizer who is the daughter of migrant workers, will hold the seat just months before the district is redrawn to be more favorable to Democrats. But their victory in the heavily Hispanic Rio Grande Valley bodes ominously for Democrats.

Not only are they losing ground in a region they have long dominated, but Flores’ success as a candidate shows Republicans are gaining traction with Hispanic voters.

Her victory also has implications for Democrats’ ambitions in Congress, denying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the opportunity to increase her narrow two-vote lead for passing legislation.



Also in South Carolina on Tuesday, Republican Tim Scott clinched an easy and unchallenged primary victory for his final Senate term. But he’s also thinking of another state — the Iowa Presidential Proving Grounds.

It has become a belief that there are no “accidental” trips to Iowa by ambitious politicians. And Scott, the Senate’s only black Republican, has made multiple visits, including one last week.

He certainly has the money to fight. Running for re-election to the Senate, Scott raised a whopping $42 million. That’s more than double the $15.7 million average cost of a successful Senate campaign in midterms of 2018. It’s also more than enough to launch a Republican presidential campaign in 2024.

Even before his recent appearance at an Iowa Republican Party event, Scott has been raising his profile. He spoke at the 2020 Republican National Convention and delivered the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s first joint congressional address. He has also visited New Hampshire, another early voting presidential state, and delivered a speech at the Reagan Presidential Library, another frequent stop for Republicans eyeing the White House.



Governor’s races are often overlooked. But the Maine general election campaign is among a handful of gubernatorial races likely to be competitive this year, along with Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona.

Tuesday’s gubernatorial primary was a mere formality as the races were undisputed. But they’ve completed an election between two longtime enemies that promises to be a dope general election.

Democratic incumbent Janet Mills is seeking a second term. She is a former Maine district attorney, legislator, and attorney general who frequently clashed with Republican Paul LePage when he was governor. Now LePage, who describes himself as “Trump before Trump existed,” challenges them.

The contest will test the attractiveness of Trumpian candidates in New England. The Democratic Governors Association has already booked $5 million in TV advertising time.

That Mills and LePage even compete against each other is somewhat surprising.


LePage relocated to Florida and resigned from politics when he left office in 2019 after serving two tumultuous terms that often drew national attention for his indecent remarks.

But the draw for the elected offices was apparently too big. By 2020, he was back in Maine and vowing to challenge his old nemesis.


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Sarah Y. Kim

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