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Sanford lost in the June primary, but S.C. Republicans have been blaming him for the party losing control of the 1st District
Looks like Katie Arrington isn't the only one blaming Mark Sanford for Joe Cunningham's win in the 1st District last week. And buckle up, because state Republicans seem eager to set the stage for another Trumpy candidate like Arrington in 2020.
Amid speculation that Sanford may try for a third stint in Washington, the South Carolina Republican Party also seems to point the finger at Sanford.
Over the weekend, P&C reported
that S.C. Republican Party Chairman Drew McKissick has made winning back the coastal district the state party's top priority.
A few days after the party lost control of a congressional seat it held for a generation, that seems reasonable enough, right?
But if McKissick has anything to do with Republicans winning back the seat, it probably won't be with Sanford, the guy who never lost an election until this summer when he fell out of favor with the current occupant of the White House.
McKissick apparently didn't hold back when P&C
's Schyuler Kropf asked about Sanford's refusal to fall in line and endorse Arrington, describing the decision with choice words like "ingratitude" and "poor taste and poor class."
Sanford has won at least eight general elections as a Republican since 1994 and even more primaries, including two non-consecutive stints in Washington and two statewide elections as governor.
After he lost, Sanford told Vox's Ezra Klein that he lost because, "I wasn't Trump enough in the age of Trump."
But come 2020, another presidential election year, a few months after S.C.'s early presidential primary, the SCGOP will ask its most diehard voters to pick its next nominee for the 1st District.
Even with the SCGOP loss in the 1st District, the party still controls five of the state's six other congressional districts, and no other Democrats earned more than 43 percent of support in races for those seats last week.
So if Cunningham wants to keep his seat in Congress, he's going to have to prove himself in Washington and overcome being named public enemy number one by state Republicans.