Incumbent Republican congresswoman Nancy Mace has a narrow lead over her GOP challenger in the contentious primary race for the Palmetto State’s first congressional district. However, Katie Arrington – whose candidacy is backed by former U.S. president Donald Trump – could be positioned to capture a larger share of undecided voters as this race heads toward the finish line in two weeks time.
According to a survey released on Wednesday by the Trafalgar Group, Mace is currently drawing the support of 46.4 percent of GOP primary voters in the first district – which includes Charleston, Beaufort, Bluffton and other parts of the picturesque Palmetto Lowcountry.
Arrington is not far behind with 40.5 percent support in this head-to-head contest.
A total of 13.1 percent of first district voters are undecided – a number which could prove problematic for the incumbent as these voters tend to break toward challengers down the stretch.
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The race between Mace and Arrington has been viewed as a proxy war between the GOP establishment (which has rallied to the incumbent) and backers of Trump (who has endorsed Arrington). It is also seen as a precursor to the 2024 “First in the South” presidential battle – in which presidential contenders like Trump and former S.C. governor Nikki Haley hope to exert their influence over the Palmetto State electorate.
Haley has endorsed Mace, incidentally – and has helped her raised a boatload of money in her bid for a second term.
Mace captured this seat in 2020 from incumbent Democrat Joe Cunningham – a lobbyist/ “ocean engineer” who defeated Arrington in the previous election. Cunningham – who is (sort of) running for governor this year – turned the first district blue for the first time in nearly four decades. Prior to losing to Cunningham, Arrington vanquished former first district U.S. congressman (and two-term governor) Mark Sanford in a GOP primary for this district four years ago.
The new poll comes as both candidates have claimed sizable leads in the contest. During an event in Beaufort County last month, for example, Mace claimed to have internal polling showing her ahead of Arrington by more than twenty percentage points.
Do I trust the Trafalgar numbers? Absolutely.
Trafalgar is led by Atlanta, Georgia-based strategist Robert Cahaly (a.k.a. “the Oracle”), one of the most accurate pollsters in the country. Trafalgar’s survey of 556 likely GOP primary voters was conducted over the Memorial Day holiday weekend (May 26-29, 2022). It has a margin of error of 4.1 percent.
Mace and Arrington face off on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 – however early voting for partisan primary elections across South Carolina began yesterday.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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