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Nancy Mace debuts ad with Mount Pleasant Medal of Honor recipient in SC's 1st District race

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Republican challenger state Rep. Nancy Mace debates Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham on Sept. 28, 2020, at the SCETV studios in Beaufort in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District race. File/Grace Beahm Alford/Staff

Republican congressional candidate Nancy Mace released a new TV ad Wednesday featuring South Carolina Medal of Honor recipient Maj. Gen. James Livingston. 

In the 30-second spot, the retired Marine Corps war hero endorses Mace over her opponent, Charleston Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham, and highlights her accomplishments as the first female graduate of The Citadel's Corps of Cadets.

"My fellow Americans, I recognize leadership and integrity," Livingston says in the dialogue. "And that is why I am endorsing Nancy Mace. ... She did not break the glass ceiling at The Citadel. She smashed it." 

Livingston goes on to call Cunningham a "soldier for" Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Livingston endorsed Mace ahead of the June GOP primary, but this is the first ad featuring his support.

Mara Mellstrom, a spokeswoman for Mace, didn’t disclose the amount of the ad buy but said it was six figures.

Livingston, a Georgia native but long-time Mount Pleasant resident, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in a bloody three day battle in 1968 during the Vietnam War.

He survived being severely wounded multiple times, came back to the United States and was presented the Medal of Honor by President Richard Nixon.

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Mace's latest advertisement is a direct appeal to the military vote ahead of November in one of the most contested congressional races in the country.

Within the 1st District — which ranges from Hilton Head Island and Beaufort to Charleston and Mount Pleasant — veterans are anywhere from 8 to 12 percent of the population, according to a report from the Department of Defense.

Cunningham has also been trying to keep this voting bloc ahead of November. In July, Cunningham's campaign aired an ad featuring George Patton “Pat” Waters, the Republican grandson of legendary World War II Army Gen. George S. Patton, endorsing the Democratic incumbent. 

Cunningham was elected in 2018, ending the streak of GOP lawmakers representing the seat for four decades. It’s a district that overwhelmingly elected Donald Trump for president in 2016.

Mace, a state representative from Daniel Island, has been aiming to bring the district back in GOP control.

After Cunningham and Mace held their first televised debate this week, The Cook Political Report — an independent online newsletter that analyzes elections — switched the seat from being a "toss up" to "leaning Democratic."

Since the last Federal Election filing in June, more than $6 million had been raised by both campaigns.

So far, Cunningham has more than $3 million in cash on hand. Mace, by comparison, has a little more than $740,000.

Reach Thomas Novelly at 843-937-5713. Follow him @TomNovelly on Twitter. 

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