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Nancy Mace spent $3.7 million defending House seat from Trump-backed SC GOP challenger

Unity Rally Arrington Mace_01.JPG (copy)

U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace speaks to reporters in Charleston on June 16, 2022, after addressing the crowd at a Republican party "Unity Rally" following the primary races. Mace spent nearly $3.7 million defending her South Carolina congressional seat in last month's Republican primary. Henry Taylor/Staff

U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace spent nearly $3.7 million defending her South Carolina congressional seat in last month's Republican primary where she found herself battling a GOP challenger supported by former President Donald Trump.

The numbers, which are detailed in new federal fundraising reports, show how Mace's reelection campaign fought to defeat Katie Arrington, a former state lawmaker from Summerville who earned Trump's endorsement within days of entering the race.

Based on those amounts, that means Mace spent roughly $94 for each of the 39,470 votes she received, while Arrington, by contrast, spent about $23 for each of the 33,589 votes she received in the June 14 Republican primary for the coastal 1st Congressional District seat. 

The totals do not include the substantial spending by outside groups, which sunk millions into the competitive contest that pitted Trump's preferred candidate against former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's pick.

Mace prevailed as the GOP nominee, receiving about 53 percent of the vote share to Arrington's 45 percent. A third candidate, Lynz Piper-Loomis, captured the remaining votes despite abruptly dropping out of of the race during a televised debate in downtown Charleston.

The congressional race now pivots to the general election in November, where Mace will face Annie Andrews, a Charleston Democrat and pediatrician.

The July-released quarterly reports, which document dollars raised and spent from May 26 until June 30, offer a first glimpse at how the fight for dollars is shaping up between the two candidates as they begin making their case to general election voters.

Despite the pricey primary, fundraising reports show Mace enters the next phase with a cash advantage and $1.1 million in her coffers.

Of her haul, about $92,000 came from political action committees, ranging from PACs for Walmart, Publix and Boeing as well as $2,000 from a leadership PAC associated with Illinois GOP U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood. Mace also received $1,000 from the political action arm of the Environmental Defense Action Fund, one of the nation's largest environmental organizations.

Andrews, who easily secured her party's nomination by virtue of facing no primary challenger, begins her general election campaign with $742,500 in the bank. Former S.C. Gov. Jim Hodges, the last Democrat to serve as governor, gave Andrews $5,800.

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314 Action, a Democratic super PAC that helped flip the district out of Republican control in 2018, has also started making good on its promise to support Andrews by donating $5,000.

Mace said her cash haul suggests her campaign has "so much momentum."

"It also shows being an independent voice for the Lowcountry has broad support going into the General Election," she said in a media release.

In the same statement, the Mace campaign suggested the congresswoman has even more than the $1.1 million total listed in the July quarterly report, putting Mace's cash on hand total at $1.4 million.

The Mace campaign said their figure comes from pre-primary and quarterly reports from both Mace’s reelection committee, as well as the Team Mace Joint Fundraising Committee.

Andrews said her campaign is "well positioned to defeat Nancy Mace in November."

"We have as much money in the bank today as Nancy Mace did two years ago when she was the challenger," she said. "We look forward to informing voters that Nancy Mace voted against the bipartisan infrastructure bill, against legislation to reduce gas prices, against the bipartisan gun safety bill and refuses to stand up to protect women’s reproductive rights."

To date, Andrews has raised more than $1.1 million in her first-ever run for political office. Mace, by contrast, has raised more than $4.6 million.

The coastal congressional district is one of the few places in the state where South Carolina Democrats have been competitive in recent years, but that was before the latest decennial redistricting process made the seat slightly more Republican.

The general election is set for Nov. 8.

Reach Caitlin Byrd at 843-998-5404 and follow her on Twitter @MaryCaitlinByrd.