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Steve Scalise, the No. 2 House Republican, endorses Nancy Mace in SC congressional race

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Steve Scalise

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., is supporting Republican Nancy Mace in her congressional run for South Carolina's 1st Congressional District. The endorsement, announced Wednesday, marks the second time in as many months that Mace has secured the support of a House Republican leader. File/Patrick Semansky/AP

A second House Republican leader has endorsed Nancy Mace in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District race, giving her another stamp of party establishment approval in the competitive Republican primary.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican who is the second-ranking GOP member in the House of Representatives, announced Wednesday he is backing Mace.

The endorsement, shared first with The Post and Courier, marks the second time in as many months that the Daniel Island resident has secured support from her party's House leaders.

Last month, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., endorsed her in the contest. 

In a written statement, Scalise called Mace "a hard worker who is battle-tested."

"If Republicans are going to take the House majority back this fall, we need candidates like Nancy who can take the fight to the Democrats and their fundraising machines," Scalise said.

He added, "SC-01 has a winner in Nancy Mace."

The endorsement was foreshadowed in the latest fundraising reports filed last week with the Federal Election Commission, when it was disclosed that the Eye of the Tiger PAC associated with Scalise, gave Mace $5,000 on March 17.

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Mace, 42, told The Post and Courier she met with Scalise in November. She welcomed his support on Wednesday, and pointed to it as a sign that she is the candidate who can unify Republicans as they seek to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham in the fall.

Mace and Scalise

State Rep. Nancy Mace, R-Daniel Island, meets with House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., in November. Scalise endorsed Mace, a GOP candidate in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District, on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Provided

"I'm running a campaign that’s bringing conservatives and Republicans together — to represent all of the Lowcountry. People from all across the party," she said, noting she has the support of fiscal conservatives like U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and the group Club for Growth, as well as the backing of Republican leadership.

"(They) are all uniting behind my campaign because they know no one will work harder than I will. I grew up here, I’m raising my family here and I have the right experience to win," Mace said.

Scalise was one of five people wounded in June 2017 when a gunman opened fire on lawmakers on a baseball field in Alexandria, Va., during a practice for a congressional charity game.

The Scalise endorsement came one day after Kathy Landing, another GOP candidate in the Republican contest, announced she had been endorsed by Jim DeMint, a former Republican U.S. senator from South Carolina and past leader of the Heritage Foundation.

Without the ability to hold traditional in-person campaign events because of the novel coronavirus, campaigns in the 1st District are relying on other methods to communicate their strength to voters, from TV ads to big-name endorsements.

There are two other Republican challengers in the contest: Chris Cox, co-founder of Bikers for Trump, and Brad Mole, who works as the housing and neighborhood services administrator for the town of Bluffton.

The Republican primary is June 9.

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.

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