Incumbent Republican South Carolina Representative Mark Sanford, who often criticizes the President, lost Tuesday’s primaries to state Representative Kate Arrington.
Her unexpected win proved an unmistakably positive referendum on President Donald Trump’s tenure and a harsh rebuke of Sanford’s heated “Never Trump”-style rhetoric, Fox News reports. The results of the primaries further prove that despite criticism from within and outside his party, the President’s base still supports him ahead of November’s midterm elections.
Representative Arrington condemned Sanford for his vocal criticism of President Trump, even running advertisements featuring video clips which show Sanford bashing the President. Earlier that day, Sanford himself admitted that his comments about Trump have had a negative effect on him and hurt him in the primary.
“Well I think it has probably hurt me in this race,” he said. “But again, there are no free lunches in life. I think there are times I have had to oppose the President because of stands I have had for a long time.”
Among the points of criticism from Sanford were Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, which the South Carolina representative has warned will be “disastrous.” He further called Trump intolerant and untrustworthy, and even appeared to blame him for the shooting at a Republican congressional baseball practice last year.
“I would argue that the President has unleashed — it’s partially, again, not in any way totally — but partially to blame for demons that have been unleashed,” he said after the attack.
As a result, President Trump has called Sanford “very unhelpful in my campaign to MAGA” and said he was “nothing but trouble.”
Sanford resigned as governor in 2011 after finally acknowledging that he was having an extramarital affair. He became politically active again in 2013 when he won the House seat in the district he had earlier represented for six years.
Before the primary on Tuesday, the President endorsed Arrington, writing on Twitter, “I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love. She is tough on crime and will continue our fight to lower taxes. VOTE Katie!”