Representatives Mace and Rice face tough GOP primaries after challenging Trump | Nevada News

By MEG KINNARD, Associated Press

CHARLESTON, SC (AP) — Two Republican incumbents of the United States House in South Carolina who drew the ire of former President Donald Trump now face tough primary challenges Tuesday from candidates that he approved.

Representatives Nancy Mace and Tom Rice criticized Trump after the Jan. 6 uprising, with Rice among 10 House Republicans who crossed party lines to vote to impeach him.

In Nevada, Democratic Rep. Dina Titus is pitted against a progressive, while Republican Rep. Mark Amodei has challenged a son of one of the state’s most famous sports personalities. In Maine, a former Republican congressman is seeking to reclaim his old seat.

In Texas, a special primary election is being held for the remaining months of former Democratic Representative Filemon Vela’s term.

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Top congressional races to watch in Tuesday’s primaries in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina and Texas:


Five-term congressman Rep. Tom Rice drew half a dozen GOP challengers after his vote to impeach Trump. All cited the vote as a mark of disloyalty to the former president and to Rice’s voters in the 7th Congressional District, who have strongly backed Trump in both of his campaigns. Trump endorsed State Rep. Russell Fry in the race.

Rice, an otherwise consistent supporter of Trump’s policies, backed his vote, acknowledging it could lead to his ousting but saying he was following his conscience.

With a field of seven Republicans, it’s likely no candidate will garner more than 50% of the vote and the primary will head to a runoff on June 28. The Rice District includes the tourist hotspot of Myrtle Beach and a number of inland rural areas.

Taking a somewhat different approach, Representative Nancy Mace sought to atone for Trump’s wrath, filming a video in New York this year outside Trump Tower to remind her constituents that she was one of ” first supporters” of the former president. She worked for his 2016 campaign and had his support in his 2020 run.

In addition to criticizing Trump for the Jan. 6 insurrection, Mace went against the former president’s wishes by voting to certify President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election and to hold Steve Bannon in defiance of the government. Congress for defying a subpoena from the Capitol Insurgency Investigating Committee.

Trump is backing Mace’s opponent, former state Rep. Katie Arrington, who won the GOP nomination for the seat in 2018 by beating incumbent Mark Sanford. She then lost the seat to Joe Cunningham in the general election in the Democrats’ first round of a seat in South Carolina in decades.

Mace, who narrowly defeated Cunningham in 2020, spent one term representing the politically diverse 1st congressional district, which includes Charleston and stretches south to other coastal areas, including Hilton Head Island.


Rep. Mark Amodei faces a primary challenge from a perennial candidate with a famous last name.

Danny Tarkanian, son of legendary University of Nevada, Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, is trying to bring down the six-term incumbent in the sprawling rural northern district that no Democrat won in 40 years.

Over the years, Tarkanian has launched two Senate campaigns and lost numerous congressional nominations in two other districts. But he created enough of a stir in 2018 when he first challenged Sen. Dean Heller for Trump to intervene to persuade him to give up and run for the House again.

Amodei won a special election for the seat in 2011 after Heller was nominated to serve an unexpired senatorial term. A member of the House Appropriations Committee, Amodei has easily fended off previous primary challenges in the past.


Democratic Rep. Dina Titus, the dean of Nevada’s congressional delegation, faces a progressive challenge from Amy Vilela in the state’s most liberal district.

Vilela, who lost a primary bid in a neighboring district to Rep. Steven Horsford in 2018, was the Nevada co-chair of Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign. She was endorsed by Sanders and Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri, a progressive activist who scored a primary upset in 2020 against a 20-year-old Democratic incumbent.

Titus was a top supporter of Biden during his 2020 presidential campaign. She served six terms in the House and chairs a transportation subcommittee.

With one of the most liberal voting records in Congress, Titus has fought his way through major opponents over the years. But she complained about how Nevada redesigned its congressional districts after the 2020 census, safely transforming its Democratic district into one where registered party voters have just a single-digit margin. .


A former congressman wants to regain his old seat in Maine, but first he must fend off a challenge from a fellow Republican in the largely rural and politically mixed district.

Bruce Poliquin represented Maine’s 2nd congressional district from 2015 to 2019 until losing to Democratic Rep. Jared Golden. Golden’s victory over Poliquin was the first congressional election decided by ranked ballot in United States history.

This year, Poliquin hopes to earn a rematch against Golden in one of the most watched races of the 2022 midterms. Caratunk.


Whether Republicans can continue to make gains with Hispanic voters — one of the party’s main goals in 2022 — is being tested in a special election in South Texas.

Four candidates are running to complete the term of former Rep. Filemon Vela, a five-term Democrat who left Congress earlier this year to take a job in the private sector. They include Republican Mayra Flores, who won the GOP nomination for the seat in March and hopes a near-term victory on Tuesday will give her the momentum to overturn the seat in November.

Trump’s big gains along the border with Mexico in 2020 have Democrats on the defensive after decades of one-party control in South Texas. Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez left a neighboring district due to redistricting to run for Vela’s seat and is the party’s nominee for November. But he’s not running to finish Vela’s term, and party leaders have rallied in the special election behind Democrat Dan Sanchez.

The first runner-up would need more than 50% of the vote on Tuesday to win. Otherwise, the top two will qualify for a second round in August.

Associated Press writers Scott Sonner in Reno, Nevada, Paul Weber in Austin, Texas, and Patrick Whittle in Portland, Maine contributed to this report.

Meg Kinnard can be reached at

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