Rice loses House seat after impeaching Trump; Mace holds on
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina has been ousted from Congress in his Republican primary after voting to impeach Donald Trump over the Jan. 6 insurrection. He is the first of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump to lose a reelection bid.
Rice, a five-term congressman, was defeated Tuesday by state Rep. Russell Fry, who was endorsed by Trump. Rice was a strong supporter of Trump’s policies in Washington but said he was left no choice but to impeach Trump over his failure to calm the mob that violently sought to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.
U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina also angered Trump, but she sought to make amends and won her GOP primary over her own Trump-backed challenger.
In other races Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Dina Titus in Nevada handily defeated her progressive challenger, while Republican Rep. Mark Amodei won his primary against a son of one of the state’s most famous sports figures. In Maine, a former Republican congressman is hoping to reclaim his seat in November in a rematch with the Democrat who defeated him four years ago.
In Texas, Republican Mayra Flores narrowed Nancy Pelosi’s Democratic majority in the House by winning a special primary election to serve the remaining months of former Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela’s term.
Key congressional races in Tuesday’s primary elections in Maine, Nevada, South Carolina and Texas:
TWO SOUTH CAROLINA REPUBLICANS WHO CROSSED TRUMP HAVE DIFFERENT FATES
Rice, who attracted a half-dozen GOP challengers after his vote to impeach Trump, had stood by his decision, acknowledging that it could lead to his ouster but saying he followed his conscience.
Fry, the House majority whip, has served in the South Carolina state House since 2015. Trump had campaigned with Fry earlier this year in the 7th Congressional District, a Republican stronghold that includes the tourist hotspot of Myrtle Beach and a number of inland, rural areas.
Trump had vowed revenge against the 10 House Republicans who crossed party lines to impeach him. Four of the 10 decided against seeking reelection. A fifth, Rep. David Valadao of California, is still waiting to hear the results of his primary election from last week; he is fighting for the second spot in a race where the top two finishers advance to the general election in November.
Trump had less luck in his quest to oust Mace, who managed to hold off a primary challenge Tuesday from former state Rep. Katie Arrington in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, which includes Charleston. Despite his anger toward Mace for criticizing him over his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, he congratulated her Tuesday and predicted she would win in November.
In her victory speech, Mace thanked her high-profile endorsers, including former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
Asked how she would work to keep the district, which has changed political hands in the last two election cycles, Mace seemed to commit to the same bipartisan outreach for which Arrington had criticized her.
“I am willing to work with anyone who’s willing to work with me, full stop,” Mace told reporters.
Unlike Rice, Mace sought to make amends for angering Trump. Earlier this year, she filmed a video in New York outside Trump Tower to remind her constituents that she was one of the former president’s earliest supporters.
Mace will face Democrat Annie Andrews in the general election.
REPUBLICANS FLIP US HOUSE SEAT IN TEXAS
Republicans have gained an additional House seat for the rest of the year in a special election victory that they see as a sign of things to come along Texas’ heavily Hispanic southern border.
Flores will finish the final months of former Democratic Rep. Vela’s term. He left Congress earlier this year for the private sector.
Her victory Tuesday over three other challengers — including two Democrats — is a symbolically important win for Republicans, who have spent the past two years aggressively trying to make new inroads with Hispanic voters in South Texas.
Flores is the daughter of migrant workers and a local GOP organizer. She will also be the GOP nominee for the seat in November, but that election will be under a new district map that is more favorable to Democrats.
Her opponent will be Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, who moved from a neighboring district because of redistricting.
NEVADA REPUBLICAN DEFEATS CANDIDATE WITH FAMOUS LAST NAME
Rep. Mark Amodei won his primary challenge against Danny Tarkanian, a son of legendary University of Nevada, Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian. The younger Tarkanian failed to knock off the six-term incumbent in the sprawling, rural northern district that no Democrat has won in its 40 years.
Over the years, Tarkanian has launched two Senate campaigns and lost numerous congressional bids in two other districts. But he created enough of a stir in 2018 in a primary challenge to Sen. Dean Heller that Trump intervened to persuade him to drop out and run again for the House.
Amodei won a special election for the seat in 2011 after Heller was appointed to fill an unexpired Senate term.
NEVADA DEMOCRAT CRUISES TO VICTORY IN STATE’S BLUEST DISTRICT
Titus, the dean of Nevada’s congressional delegation, easily beat back a progressive challenge from Amy Vilela in the state’s most liberal district.
Vilela, who lost a primary bid in a neighboring district to Rep. Steven Horsford in 2018, had been endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri.
Titus, who has one of the most liberal voting records in Congress, was a leading advocate for Biden during his 2020 presidential campaign. She has served six House terms and chairs a transportation subcommittee.
She has complained about how Nevada redrew its congressional districts after the 2020 census, turning her safely Democratic district into one where the party’s registered voters have only a single-digit margin.
FORMER MAINE CONGRESSMAN FACES 2018 REMATCH IN NOVEMBER
A former congressman who is bidding to return to his old seat in Maine held off a challenge from a fellow Republican.
Bruce Poliquin represented Maine’s 2nd Congressional District from 2015 to 2019 until losing to the current seat holder, Democratic Rep. Jared Golden. Golden’s victory over Poliquin was the first congressional election decided by ranked-choice voting in U.S. history.
This year, Poliquin is hoping to win a rematch over Golden in one of the most closely watched races of the 2022 midterm elections. He staved off a challenge from Liz Caruso, the first selectwoman of the tiny town of Caratunk, in Tuesday’s primary.
Associated Press writers Scott Sonner in Reno, Nev., Paul Weber in Austin, Texas, and Patrick Whittle in Portland, Maine, contributed to this report.
This story has been corrected to show that Golden beat Poliquin in Maine four years ago, not two years ago.
Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.