Polls end in South Carolina, where Trump is a factor in major GOP primaries even though he’s not on the ballot

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Polls are off in South Carolina, where two House Republicans targeted by former President Donald Trump face major challenges in contests that are garnering national attention.

Five-term Rep. Tom Rice, R.S.C., was one of ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for fueling the January 6, 2021, deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol led by right-wing extremists and other Trump supporters aiming to disrupt Congress’ certification of current President Biden’s Electoral College victory in the 2020 election.

Rice, a self-proclaimed “Chamber of Commerce” Republican, pondered his impeachment vote as he faced off against half a dozen primary challengers.

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Republican Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina speaks to supporters at a campaign event on the eve of the state's primary, Pawleys Island, June 13, 2022
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Republican Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina speaks to supporters at a campaign event on the eve of the state’s primary, Pawleys Island, June 13, 2022
(Fox News)

“Republicans are supposed to protect the Constitution. We are sworn to protect the Constitution, not a man,” Rice stressed in an interview with Fox News Digital on the eve of the primary. “And so what I did was take a conservative vote. If you want a conservative, I’m the guy.”

FACED WITH PRIMARY CHALLENGE ON HIS IMPLEMENTATION VOTE, SOUTH CAROLINA RICE SAYS HE ‘SUPPORTS’ THE CONSTITUTION

One of those challengers, State Rep. Russell Fry, has the former president’s backing and support.

Fry told Fox News he wouldn’t challenge Rice if the congressman didn’t vote for impeachment, adding “I think impeachment is the big elephant in the room and voters are incredibly frustrated with it. “

Republican congressional candidate Russell Fry addresses supporters during a campaign event on the eve of the state primary, in Florence, SC on June 13, 2022

Republican congressional candidate Russell Fry addresses supporters during a campaign event on the eve of the state primary, in Florence, SC on June 13, 2022
(FoxNews)

The solidly red district, which covers the northeast corner of South Carolina and includes the Myrtle Beach metropolitan area, known as the Grand Strand, and the interior Pee Dee region, is Trump country.

With a crowded field of candidates, it’s likely no candidate will top 50% and Rice and Fry will most likely face off again in a runoff in two weeks.

REPRESENTING. NANCY MACE FACES TRUMP-BACKED PRIMARY CHALLENGE IN SOUTH CAROLINA

That’s not the case in the neighboring First Congressional District — a key general election seat that includes much of coastal South Carolina, including the fast-growing suburbs surrounding the city of Charleston — where first-term Rep. Nancy Mace faces one main challenge. of former state legislator Katie Arrington, who is backed by Trump.

Republican Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina speaks to supporters at a campaign event in Summerville, South Carolina on June 12, 2022

Republican Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina speaks to supporters at a campaign event in Summerville, South Carolina on June 12, 2022
(Fox News)

Mace was an early supporter of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. But although Mace did not vote for impeachment, she publicly criticized Trump after the Capitol stormed, saying he ” put all of our lives at risk.”

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Even though Trump targets her, Mace shines a light on her MAGA credentials.

Republican congressional candidate Katie Arrington, who is the first representative challenging Nancy Mace in the 1st congressional district of South Carolina's Tuesday primary, speaks with Fox News in Summerville, South Carolina, June 12, 2022

Republican congressional candidate Katie Arrington, who is the first representative challenging Nancy Mace in the 1st congressional district of South Carolina’s Tuesday primary, speaks with Fox News in Summerville, South Carolina, June 12, 2022
(FoxNews)

“I’m the only candidate in this race who supports Americas First policies. We have a lot we can agree on as Americans, as conservatives, as Republicans , whatever brand of Republican you are in our country. I put our country first,” Mace told Fox News.

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But Arrington says Mace is “not a conservative. That’s why I’m running. She turned her back on us in the district. She turned her back on Donald J. Trump.”

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