South Carolina first district congresswoman Nancy Mace is being targeted by powerful establishment “Republican” interests in her bid for a third term in office, this media outlet has learned.
Is that a surprise to anyone? Of course not …
Mace drew the ire of the Washington, D.C. swamp two months ago when she joined seven other GOP lawmakers in voting to oust Kevin McCarthy from his role as speaker. Her response to the status quo’s criticism of her vote? She wore a scarlet letter to the U.S. Capitol.
Mace’s declaration of political independence drew rave reviews from our arch-conservative commentator, Prioleau Alexander.
“The Swamp has decided it’s time to try and cancel her,” Alexander wrote last week in a column defending Mace, whom he hailed as a rare “reach across the aisle Republican” who has repeatedly “said the quiet part out loud.”
But the Swamp’s cancel campaign is very real … and is already taking shape.
This week, multiple voters in the first district received a “push poll” – or a survey intended to spread messages (both positive and negative) about officeholders or political candidates.
According to three different sources who received this call, it leveled multiple lines of attack against Mace – while touting two potential first district Republicans as alternatives to her in this coming spring’s GOP primary elections. The two would-be candidates referenced on the call? Former S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) director Catherine Templeton and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) executive Joseph Semsar.
Both Templeton and Semsar reside in Mount Pleasant, S.C. The fourth-largest city in the Palmetto State, Mount Pleasant is located in heart of the first district – which includes the coastal Lowcountry region of the state. It contains Beaufort and Berkeley counties as well as parts of Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester and Jasper counties.
Templeton is a former gubernatorial candidate who most recently served as co-founder and ex-president of U.S. Brick. She has previous bureaucratic and political experience. In addition to her tenure at SCDHEC, she also briefly ran the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (SCLLR) and was a candidate for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2018, losing to incumbent Henry McMaster.
Templeton recently sold her partnership interest in US Brick, fueling speculation that she might work full-time with either Nikki Haley or Tim Scott (on one of their respective presidential campaigns) – or finally run for the U.S. congress herself.
(Click to view)
Templeton did not immediately respond to this media outlet’s requests for comment on the push poll. Sources familiar with her thinking said she is “listening” to overtures from interested parties as it relates to a possible first district campaign, but added “so are at least a dozen other people.”
According to sources who received the poll, it touted Templeton as “slashing government jobs” and “cutting the budgets” of her departments. It also credited her for helping land crony capitalist aircraft manufacturer Boeing and shared a story about her decision to choose life when a doctor suggested she abort one of her children during pregnancy.
As for Semsar, he served in three positions in the administration of former U.S president Donald Trump – including as undersecretary of the Department of Commerce. The push poll touted him being “on board with Trump’s trade policy” and also highlighted his service with Teach for America.
Semsar received his undergraduate degree from Clemson and his masters degree in public policy from Pennsylvania.
Will the bid to take Mace out be successful?
The 46-year-old Fort Bragg, N.C. native – the first woman to graduate from the formerly all-male Citadel military academy – is no stranger to staring down adversity. Or beating back well-funded political attacks. She was targeted for defeat in 2022 by Trump – and won the GOP primary anyway. She also cruised to a landslide reelection in the erstwhile competitive first district against a well-funded, credible Democratic rival.
As I noted earlier this year, Mace was already charting a principled, independent path prior to the McCarthy vote – going against GOP leadership on a big debt ceiling vote earlier this year.
“This bill had no limit on the debt ceiling at all,” Mace said in a video recorded after her vote. “It also put into law record high levels of spending created during the Covid pandemic era. To put that into law as your baseline spending going forward – I just can’t even imagine how we sold out our kids and grandkids.”
If Mace can frame the Swamp’s opposition to her along such principled fiscal conservative lines, expect her to continue to be successful in pushing back against efforts to oust her from her seat.
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 and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.
WANNA SOUND OFF?
Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our articles? Or an issue you’d like to proactively address? We have an open microphone policy here at FITSNews! Submit your letter to the editor (or guest column) via email HERE. Got a tip for a story? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question or a glitch to report? CLICK HERE.