On the same day her top rival for the Republican congressional nomination in South Carolina’s first congressional district announced that she was hitting the airwaves, second-term state representative Nancy Mace announced another massive fundraising haul.
According to an email from her campaign, the 42-year-old businesswoman from Daniel Island, S.C. has brought in nearly $1.2 million in contributions since announcing her candidacy nine months ago – and has more than $800,000 in cash on hand as she approaches the homestretch of the primary battle for this nationally competitive seat.
Three months ago, Mace reported raising just shy of $900,000.
“This is a huge deal and I could not do this without you,” Mace wrote in the email.
According to her campaign, more than 3,700 people have now made contributions – allowing Mace to raise “almost (three times) the amount my democrat opponent raised for his primary in 2018.”
Mace is already referring to incumbent Democrat Joe Cunningham has “her opponent” in the 2020 general election.
Based on the current state of the race, Mace has reason for optimism. In addition to the huge cash advantage she enjoys over the other three candidates seeking the GOP nomination for this seat, she has been able to amass significant institutional support as well.
And grassroots backing …
Can any of Mace’s rivals catch her?
One of them – Mount Pleasant, S.C. town councilwoman Kathy Landing – is certainly trying. Landing launched a television spot this week introducing herself to GOP primary voters in the district. The spot highlights Landing’s compelling personal narrative as an orphan who went to college at the age of sixteen and built a successful business career for herself.
The problem? Mace has a compelling personal narrative, too, including her status as the first female graduate of The Citadel – South Carolina’s government-funded military college.
That’s one reason national Republicans are supporting her – and looking to maximize her potential on the national stage.
Also seeking the GOP nomination? “Bikers for Trump” founder Chris Cox of Mount Pleasant, S.C. and entrepreneur Brad Mole of Bluffton, S.C.
A fifth candidate – Beaufort county councilman Michael Covert – had been campaigning for this seat for more than a year but dropped out of the congressional race at the last minute. Covert is challenging state representative Bill Herbkersman for his seat in the S.C. House of Representatives instead.
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(Via: Getty Images)
As of this writing, partisan primary elections in South Carolina are still scheduled for June 9, 2020 – with runoff races scheduled to take place two weeks later, on June 23, 2020. These races could be postponed, however, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In the Palmetto State, if no candidate receives a majority of votes (i.e. fifty percent plus one vote) on the first ballot, a head-to-head runoff election between the two top vote-getters is held two weeks later.
Whoever wins the GOP nomination will square off against Cunningham in November, as the incumbent did not draw a Democratic challenger.
As we have frequently noted, the general election for this seat will be fiercely fought, with national interests likely to pour massive amounts of cash into the contest. Special interests are already spending big bucks on advertisements that either praise or vilify Cunningham on the basis of various positions he has taken.
The first district leans Republican, having backed U.S. president Donald Trump with 53.5 percent of the vote in 2016. Meanwhile, former GOP nominee Mitt Romney drew 58.3 percent of the vote in 2012.
Demographic trends have pushed the district more to the ideological left in recent years, however, one of the factors contributing to Cunningham’s upset victory in 2018.
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