CHARLESTON, South Carolina — Incumbent Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) maintains a slim lead on her Trump-endorsed Republican primary challenger, former South Carolina state Rep. Katie Arrington, in a new poll.
Mace, criticized by President Donald Trump for certifying the 2020 election, earns 46% of the vote in the Palmetto State’s Charleston-anchored 1st Congressional District, according to the Trafalgar Group poll published Wednesday. In comparison, Arrington amasses 41%. Another 13% remain undecided two weeks before their June 14 primary.
The poll, conducted among 556 likely Republican primary voters from May 26-29, has a margin of error of 4 percentage points. But the survey reflects the fluidity of the Trump-defined race.
Arrington previously primaried a sitting congressman, then-Rep. Mark Sanford, a former governor, in 2018. Yet she lost the general election to Democrat Joe Cunningham, in part because of her off-shore drilling policy positions. Republicans relinquished the district to Democrats for the first time in 40 years. Mace went on to unseat Cunningham in 2020.
Arrington has attacked Mace’s more centrist Republican tendencies, contending at their only debate last month that Mace has “read the room wrong.”
“That is not what we sent her up to Washington to do,” Arrington said. “We sent Rep. Mace because she was Trump-endorsed and said she was America first. And the moment that she got up there, she turned her back on us and then she turned her back on President Trump.”
Mace has focused on whether Arrington is electable, arguing the district wants a lawmaker who recognizes it “marches to the beat of its own drum.”
“I’m the only candidate up here who knows how to beat a Democrat in this day and age in this district,” she said. “I promised that I would work hard, I promised to be an independent voice, and I promised not to tow the party line when they taxed too much and spent too much in this country.”