In a major coup toward her reelection bid, Republican congresswoman Nancy Mace won an endorsement from former S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley, putting the high-profile Republican in Mace's camp at a time when former President Donald Trump is looking for a Mace challenger.
The endorsement was announced by Haley's political action committee on Feb. 7, with the former United Nations ambassador calling Mace "the conservative voice the Lowcountry needs in Washington."
“She’s a fighter who stands up to Biden’s reckless spending, punches back against lawless lockdowns and mandates, and is strong on border security," Haley continued. "That’s why I’m proud to endorse my congresswoman, Nancy Mace, for reelection."
The move is significant in that Trump has put South Carolina's 1st Congressional District in his target list, issuing a notice last year he was calling on “any interest from good and SMART America First Republican Patriots” to challenge Mace.
Haley, who served in Trump's administration, lives in the district on Kiawah Island and had previously endorsed Mace during her initial run for Congress in 2020.
Coupled with the endorsement, Haley is expected to headline a fundraiser on Mace's behalf.
Mace, of Charleston, said she wanted to thank Haley "from the bottom of my heart," and that "Ambassador Haley is a great American. And like she did as governor, I’m working hard every day for the people of South Carolina and the Lowcountry. Her friendship and support means the world to me.”
Haley's endorsement came from the office of her Stand For America Political Action Committee. It cited Mace's support for veterans in terms of tuition assistance and homeless programs, and speaking out against President Joe Biden's stances on taxes, handling of the economy and managing the influx of immigrants across the Southern border.
Mace ended up on Trump's hit list this season in part because of comments she made in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol condemning the president for instigating the attack that interrupted certification of the 2020 election. The president’s four years of accomplishments “were wiped out in just a few short hours,” she said.
Trump has already made South Carolina a focus of his efforts in the 2022 midterms, endorsing state Rep. Russell Fry in his GOP primary challenge to unseat U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, R-Myrtle Beach, one of the 10 Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach Trump after the riots.
In a Feb. 1 statement, Trump called Fry an “America First Champion,” “a leading fighter on Election Integrity” and “pro-Life, pro-God, pro-Gun and, very importantly, pro-LOW Taxes.”
“Russell loves our Military and our Vets — he is strong on Border Security and Crime,” Trump said. “Russell Fry, who is all in for the Palmetto State, has my Complete and Total Endorsement. VOTE TOM RICE OUT NOW!”
The Haley endorsement of Mace could work to stave off challengers and push other Republicans supportive of the popular former governor to recommit to Mace, who has been criticized by members of her local district Republican parties.
Mace has two announced challengers: Lynz Piper-Loomis, a North Charleston military spouse, and Ingrid Centurion, an Army veteran.
Recent chatter has ebbed and flowed that former 1st District congressional candidate Katie Arrington and former Lt. Gov. André Bauer are being seen as potential candidates with strong Trump ties.
Filing for the seat opens and runs the last two weeks in March. The primary is June 14.
Earlier this month Haley visited the S.C. Statehouse in Columbia where she discussed helping Republicans in the upcoming election.
Three Democrats have announced bids: Annie Andrews, a Lowcountry doctor; Dorchester County Democratic Party Chairman Timothy Lewis; and former Statehouse candidate Rebecca Niess Cingolani.
This is a developing story. Check back for more.