We knew the Washington, D.C. swamp had plans to take out U.S. congresswoman Nancy Mace after she had the audacity to (repeatedly) put the interests of her constituents in the South Carolina Lowcountry ahead of the “Republican” establishment in our nation’s capital.
Such independent positions are nothing new for Mace, who previously drew the ire of former U.S. president Donald Trump and his MAGA faithful.
Trump and Mace have since buried the hatchet, but the second-term congresswoman is now facing a challenge from the opposite side of the GOP spectrum in 2024 – from the centrist “Republicans” who have historically comprised the GOP half of the governing uniparty in Washington as well as Columbia, S.C.
Mace enraged the swamp four 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.
Prior to that vote, Mace went against GOP leaders on a big debt ceiling vote earlier this year – and is currently going against “Republican” leaders on a spending bill containing what she has referred to as “mass amnesty” provisions.
Our media outlet reported on Templeton’s prospective bid back on January 23, but she made the announcement official this week. In fact, her account on X currently describes her as “running for Congress to deliver serious conservative results.”
Within moments of her announcing her candidacy, Templeton was endorsed by Mace’s 2022 primary opponent – former state representative Katie Arrington.
Mace wasted little time in pushing back against her new opponent – launching a website entitled “Puppet Catherine” which branded Templeton as a “swamp dweller” and McCarthy’s “perfect marionette.”
“Catherine Templeton is nothing more than a puppet in Kevin McCarthy’s bitter revenge operation,” Mace said. “I’ve always put the Lowcountry first. I’ll continue to fight the DC establishment who put their interests above yours, as I always have.”
Templeton, 53, 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 SCHDEC director and S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (SCLLR) director under former governor Nikki Haley.
Most recently, the Lexington, S.C. native and resident of Mount Pleasant served as co-founder and ex-president of U.S. Brick. Templeton sold her partnership interest in the company, however, prior to announcing her congressional candidacy. Prior to her career in politics, Templeton was a labor attorney – fighting against unionization efforts in right-to-work states.
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An adept fundraising, Templeton is expected to receive significant financial support from McCarthy and the GOP establishment in her campaign.
Templeton isn’t the only candidate filing to run in the GOP primary. Two weeks ago, Mace’s former chief of staff – Dan Hanlon – filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to run for the seat. Two Democrats have also declared their intentions to campaign for the office – which was briefly held by Democrat Joe Cunningham from 2019-2021.
Cunningham was defeated by Mace in 2020.
Mace, 46, is the first woman to graduate from the formerly all-male Citadel military academy. No stranger to staring down adversity – or beating back well-funded political attacks – she was targeted for defeat in 2022 by Trump but 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 last month, Mace isn’t the only incumbent likely to face a tough test this spring. Upstate “Republican” William Timmons is facing a credible challenge from Adam Morgan, chairman of the S.C. Freedom Caucus. Meanwhile, third district congressman Jeff Duncan averted a difficult primary campaign by declining to 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.
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.
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.
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