Republican Congressman Joe Wilson wants to work with someone else in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District.
The longtime South Carolina lawmaker endorsed Katie Arrington in her GOP primary race against U.S. Representative Nancy Mace on Thursday, taking the unusual step of intervening in a contentious party primary taking place in her home state. .
Wilson said he supports Arrington, a former state legislator who recently worked for the Department of Defense, because she is “a proven fighter” who recognizes the importance of national defense, while respecting the principles conservatives.
“As the murderers and enemies of freedom grow bolder under the weak leadership of the Biden administration, Washington needs more people who understand the significant implications of a weak America on the world stage. This is why I endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in South Carolina’s 1st District,” Wilson said in a statement, which was first shared with The State newspaper.
“Katie is a proven fighter for our conservative principles of limited government with expanded freedom that provides for strong national defense and the safeguarding of our border,” Wilson continued.
Wilson, who was born in Charleston, went on to call Arrington “a tireless advocate for our veterans and military” who he says will lower taxes and help create more jobs in small businesses.
“I support Katie Arrington because I know she will make a difference working for families in South Carolina,” Wilson said.
He concluded by saying he looked forward to seeing Arrington as the next representative for South Carolina’s 1st congressional district..
In a personal statement, Arrington said she “couldn’t be more honored” to have Wilson’s support.
An Arrington campaign source confirmed that Wilson plans to hold a fundraiser for Arrington and also plans to campaign with her.
Arrington called Wilson “a fearless fighter for the people of South Carolina” and highlighted his work as a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee.
“I am grateful to have his endorsement and look forward to working with him to advocate for the people of our great state,” Arrington said.
Wilson’s decision to run in the Republican primary for the Charleston seat in Congress is highly unusual in South Carolina, where most Republican incumbent lawmakers adopt a tacit commitment to neutrality during the primary season or line up behind their fellow incumbents of the GOP.
Wilson, a Springdale Republican who gained national attention for shouting “You’re lying!” during President Barack Obama’s 2009 speech to a joint session of Congress, instead decided to throw out the political rulebook again by openly supporting a primary opponent of one of his own colleagues.
Mace, a freshman lawmaker from Daniel Island who in 2020 became the first Republican woman elected to Congress from the state, has now emerged as one of former President Donald Trump’s top political targets this election cycle.
In the immediate aftermath of the deadly January 6 attack on the United States Capitol, Mace angered the former president and some Republicans after becoming one of Trump’s most vocal and prolific critics within the Republican Party.
While Mace has drawn two GOP challengers, his main rival in the main fight is Arrington, who ousted U.S. Representative Mark Sanford in a 2018 GOP primary after making loyalty to Trump the centerpiece of his campaign. campaign.
She then lost to Democrat Joe Cunningham in the general election, marking the first time in nearly 40 years that the seat was outside Republican control.
Arrington once again presents himself to voters as a staunch Trump supporter and received the former president’s endorsement a day after announcing his candidacy. She also characterized Mace as a disloyal Republican who is more interested in fame than the job she was elected to do.
The news of Wilson’s endorsement in the pageant came as a surprise, as there had been no public feud between him and Mace.
Shortly after Mace arrived in Congress, the two South Carolina Republicans, along with fellow SC GOP Rep. Ralph Norman, introduced the Parris Island Protection Act, which prohibits the use of federal funds to close or plan to close the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.
And just last weekend, Mace and Wilson posed for a photo together at South Carolina’s only PGA TOUR golf tournament, the RBC Heritage. In the photo, which was shared by Mace’s Congressional Twitter account, Mace laughs next to Wilson.
Wilson, who represented South Carolina’s 2nd congressional district for more than two decades, is the latest top Republican to pick a frontrunner in one of the state’s most watched GOP primary contests.
Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley endorsed Mace just days before Trump endorsed Arrington. Mick Mulvaney, who held several positions under the Trump administration, including the former White House president’s acting chief of staff, also lined up behind Mace.
Meanwhile, Arrington has won support from other Trump-era officials, like Richard “Ric” Grenell, who served as Trump’s acting director of national intelligence.
Arrington, who has falsely claimed the 2020 presidential election was stolen, also has the backing of Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow and one of Trump’s top allies who has repeatedly promoted unfounded claims of voter fraud. .
The dueling endorsements in the contest, along with a controversial back-and-forth text exchange that has surfaced between Arrington and Mulvaney, illustrate how high the stakes are in a primary contest that could be a critical test of whether Trump’s influence on the GOP is here to stay.
Wilson, on the other hand, has attracted no primary Republican opponents as he seeks re-election in South Carolina’s 2nd congressional district, which includes all of Aiken and Barnwell counties as well as parts of South Carolina counties. ‘Orangeburg, Lexington and Richland.
Wilson has held the seat since 2001.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.