SC Politics

Catherine Templeton ‘Strongly Considering’ Campaign Challenge Against Nancy Mace

Former GOP gubernatorial candidate testing the waters …

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When South Carolina first district congresswoman Nancy Mace spoke out against former U.S. president Donald Trump in 2021, it ensured that she would face a ‘Make America Great Again’ opponent in 2022. And when Mace took on the leader of the “Republican” establishment in Washington, D.C. last year, it guaranteed she would face a centrist GOP rival in 2024.

The second-term lawmaker – who has a mile-wide independent streak – successfully defeated her MAGA rival during the last primary election en route to a landslide win against a well-funded Democrat. Now, Mace is preparing for a fight from the middle in the upcoming election – although it is not immediately clear who will emerge as her top centrist challenger.

News broke last week that Mace’s former chief of staff, Dan Hanlon, was considering running against his ex-boss. Hanlon’s prospective bid is widely viewed as being puppeteered by former House speaker Kevin McCarthy, whom Mace voted against last fall.

“The Swamp has decided it’s time to try and cancel her,” our commentator Prioleau Alexander noted last month.

But who will be the vehicle for this attempted cancellation?



As I reported a month ago, voters in the first district recently received a “push poll” – or a survey intended to spread messages (both positive and negative) about officeholders or political candidates. That poll touted two candidates: Former S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) director Catherine Templeton and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) executive Joseph Semsar.

While Semsar has yet to publicly address the speculation surrounding his prospective candidacy, Templeton made her first public comments regarding her prospective bid earlier this week. According to our sources, the Mount Pleasant businesswoman told a meeting of Beaufort County Republicans she was “strongly considering” challenging Mace in the 2024.

Templeton ran for governor of South Carolina in 2018 – finishing third in the GOP primary behind incumbent Henry McMaster and Upstate businessman John Warren. Prior to that, she served as director of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) and director of the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (SCLLR) under former governor Nikki Haley.

Most recently, she served as co-founder and ex-president of U.S. Brick.

Will Templeton run?

The filing period for partisan primary races in South Carolina begins at 12:00 p.m. EST on March 16, 2024 and closes on April 1, 2024. Partisan primary races will be held on June 11, 2024, and if no candidate receives a majority of ballots in a given race, a runoff election will be held two weeks later – on June 25, 2024.

Mace isn’t the only incumbent likely to face a tough test this spring. Upstate “Republican” William Timmons is facing a credible challenge from S.C. Freedom Caucus chairman Adam Morgan. Meanwhile, third district congressman Jeff Duncan averted a difficult primary campaign by declaring earlier this month that he would not seek another term in office. The race to replace him is already well-joined, meaning there will be competitive races in at least three of the state’s six GOP-held congressional districts in June.



(Travis Bell Photography)

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 eight children.



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The Colonel Top fan January 23, 2024 at 12:16 pm

As I’ve pointed out a time or two (10, 12?) Catherine Templeton is decidedly not a prize – in fact she’d be a bigger disaster than the “ocean engineer” was. She was an “okay to mediocre” leader at LLR. However, she was a complete “phone it in” disaster at DHEC – she barely showed up and when she did show up she cut effective leaders in favor of creating high paid “super directors” positions. While her restructuring efforts at LLR were a step in the right direction, she did almost the reverse at making an already ineffective organization less effective, firing wily-nilly while actually increasing the cost of the “organization”. He only goal is to become a permanent member of the political class.

A Name January 23, 2024 at 2:25 pm

Sounds like she’d be perfect amongst the other MAGA do nothing, grandstanders.

Love how this blog considers a go where the wind blows opportunist, who’s main goal is getting on TV, an “mile wide” indeoendent ;-)

Not Again January 23, 2024 at 2:57 pm

District 1 seems hell bent on keeping a female, and the mindset that goes with her, in their House seat. Do the same thing over and over and expect different results.

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The Colonel Top fan January 23, 2024 at 3:23 pm

I don’t think Will has any love lost for Templeton, he’s just stirring the pot…

Bonnie Hall Top fan January 24, 2024 at 9:14 pm

She is an elitist disaster in 5 inch heels…

JustCallMeAva Top fan January 25, 2024 at 9:09 am

Why not just find a professional clown and let them run for the seat? That seems to be what the voters in the 1st district prefer. . .


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