Nearly two weeks after defeating longtime U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford in his re-election bid, Republican congressional candidate Katie Arrington now faces her toughest challenge yet: Recovery.

Arrington, 47, underwent two surgeries that together totaled some nine hours Sunday at the Medical University of South Carolina Hospital in Charleston.

Both medical procedures were related to serious injuries she sustained in a deadly car accident Friday night.

Arrington's campaign said the morning surgery complemented the initial surgery performed Friday night on her abdomen. The second surgery, which began in the afternoon, was related to the fracture in her back.

She's not giving up on her congressional bid.

Doctors told the campaign that Arrington will have no neurological deficits or limitations moving forward. She could be walking around in a few days, Arrington spokesman Michael Mule said doctors told him.

"She’s a fighter," Mule said. "This will just be one more thing she will beat and power through."

The wreck on U.S. Highway 17 south of Charleston occurred late Friday when a car that was going the wrong way smashed into the vehicle Arrington was riding in as a passenger.

The driver of the other car was killed and identified by the Charleston County Coroners Office as Helen White, 69, of Ravenel.

The driver in the car with Arrington was identified as Jacqueline Goff, 59, from Mandeville, Louisiana. Her status is unknown at this time but she was listed as critical by the hospital Saturday.

Arrington had been on her way to Hilton Head Island to receive an award from a state medical organization at the time of the crash.

She is now expected to stay at the hospital for at least two weeks.

The campaign said she could have one more minimal procedure, but that has yet to be determined at this time.

On Sunday afternoon, a crowd gathered inside St. Philip's Church in downtown Charleston to recite the rosary for Arrington, who is Catholic.

She is currently a state representative from Summerville.

Following the news of her accident, online supporters have rallied behind Arrington.

They used the hashtag #PrayForKatie.

"My family’s prayers are with you, Ms. Arrington," tweeted Connie Young, whose profile says she lives in Aiken. "God will place His healing hands on you and your physicians to ensure you are made strong again. Our God knows we need your voice in Washington soon to support our President and protect our beautiful South Carolina."

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The words of support came from around the country — from both Republicans and Democrats; from both the president and people in the Lowcountry.

Spencer Karter, a self-identified Democrat from Greenwood, used multiple hashtags when he posted on his Twitter account. Karter wrote, "#GetWellSoon even though I'm a #Democrat, and she's not. #PrayForKatie."

President Donald Trump, who in a last-minute tweet on primary day endorsed Arrington in her race against Sanford, tweeted his condolences over the weekend.

Vice President Mike Pence echoed the sentiment while stumping for Gov. Henry McMaster in Myrtle Beach on Saturday.

Sanford issued a message of his condolences, too.

Joe Cunningham, Arrington’s Democratic challenger in the general election, said he has suspended all campaign activity until further notice.

The Arrington family, through a statement from the campaign, thanks the community for their outpouring of support.

"They respectfully ask for continued prayers, including that of support for the family of Helen White, prayers of thanksgiving for the medical staff treating Katie and Jackie Goff, and prayers for continued improvement for both Katie and Jackie," the release said.

Reach Caitlin Byrd at 843-937-5590 and follow her on Twitter @MaryCaitlinByrd.

Political Reporter

Caitlin Byrd is a political reporter at The Post and Courier and author of the Palmetto Politics newsletter. Before moving to Charleston in 2016, her byline appeared in the Asheville Citizen-Times. To date, Byrd has won 17 awards for her work.