Incumbent S.C. Rep. Nancy Mace said in an announcement video posted Tuesday that she's challenging freshman Congressman Joe Cunningham because she wants you to stop sending the "same old, same old" to Washington.
Last year, Joe Cunningham, an ocean engineer and attorney by training, became the first Democrat to win the 1st Congressional District since the 1980s, beating Katie Arrington, a former Republican state rep who won a surprise primary upset over Mark Sanford.
Mace's formal announcement on Wednesday begins her second run for federal office. In 2014, she challenged U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in the Republican primary, finishing fifth in a seven-way contest that Graham won without a runoff. She was elected twice to her Daniel Island state House seat last year, first in a January special election to fill a seat left vacant by former GOP Rep. Jim Merrill who resigned after he was caught up in a corruption scandal. Mace was elected again in November by a wide margin, defeating Democrat Jen Gibson. Mace's district, 99, also includes parts of Mt. Pleasant and Hanahan.
Asked whether the rest of the S.C. congressional delegation, most of whom are Republican and have been re-elected multiple times would fall into the "same old, same old," referred to in her video, she said, "Well, it's a generality about politicians."
In her announcement video, Mace declares, "I'm gonna win back the 1st Congressional District in 2020." On Tuesday, she specified that she will "win it back for Republicans."
Mace's legislative efforts over the last year include bills to expand law enforcement training and oppose offshore drilling — an issue that polarized the 2018 SC-1 race. She also authored proposals to allow concealed carry permit-holders from other states to carry in S.C. and a resolution calling for the national background check system to notify ICE if an undocumented immigrant tries to buy a gun.
Mace voted to pass the six-week abortion bill earlier this year, drawing flak from conservatives who did not think the bill did enough to restrict women's reproductive rights. The Senate will consider that bill when the legislature reconvenes in 2020.
Mace worked on Donald Trump's 2016 S.C. campaign
Mace was the first woman to graduate from the Citadel and has worked in business and politics since then. She worked on Donald Trump's campaign in 2016 and state records list her as having a current license to sell real estate. The S.C. political website Fits News has also described her as a past "co-owner" of that business handling advertising, marketing, and technical work, according to a 2013 post.
"Supporting America first means securing America first, so we need to build the wall and vastly improve border security. We simply cannot allow radical politicians in Washington to turn America into a socialist country," Mace said in formal announcement on Wednesday.
The Cunningham campaign released a statement after Mace's video was posted Tuesday:
"Nancy Mace is a professional political operative who has spent her career running for office, and it’s no surprise she kicked off her campaign by engaging in the same type of partisan mudslinging she’s been getting paid to do for over a decade."
In response, Mace said in a text message yesterday, "I make no mention of my opponents in my announcement video nor press release we're rolling out tomorrow."
At least three other candidates have said they'll run for the seat: Beaufort County Councilman Mike Covert, Logan Cunningham of Hilton Head (no relation), and Mount Pleasant Town Councilwoman Kathy Landing.