Republican Rep. Tom Rice voted to impeach Trump after the Capitol riot. Can he survive a Trump-backed primary challenge?
Voters in Maine, North Dakota, Nevada, and South Carolina will select their candidates for critical House, Senate, and statewide offices.
- South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice and several other House incumbents face stiff primary challenges in today’s primary elections.
- Rice was one of ten Republican Congressmen who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for his role in the January 6 Capitol riot.
- Trump-backed Rice opponent state Rep. Russell Fry in the G.O.P. primary for the 7th District as part of what Rice calls “Trump’s Very Presidential Traveling Revenge Circus.” Should no candidate win a majority the top-two finishers will face off in a June 28 runoff.
- Republicans stand a good chance of winning Tuesday’s special election for Texas’s 34th District along the Mexican border. G.O.P. candidate Mayra Flores has benefitted from over $1 million in television spending and outraised Democratic candidate Dan Sanchez by a 16-to-1 margin.
- Maine looks set for two Republican comeback bids in November. Former Gov. Paul LePage is seeking a third term by challenging Democratic Gov. Janet Mills. In Maine’s 2nd District, ex-Rep. Bruce Poliquin is running against the man who defeated him in 2018, Rep. Jared Golden.
- Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, is considered vulnerable and five Republicans filed to challenge him. Clark County (Las Vegas) Sheriff Joe Lombardo led a recent poll against his primary opponents including former Sen. Dean Heller and North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee.
- Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto won narrowly in 2016 and her race is considered a “tossup” by leading elections forecaster Sabato’s Crystal Ball.
- The leading G.O.P. candidate to take on Cortez Masto is former state attorney general Adam Laxalt, who lost the 2018 Nevada gubernatorial election. Trump and Mitch McConnell back Laxalt. His leading opponent, Purple Heart winner Sam Brown is endorsed by the state party.
- Two other House Republican incumbents face significant primary challenges besides Rice:
- Rep. Nancy Mace (SC-01) faces off with Katie Arrington, a Trump-endorsed opponent who lost the typically safe Republican 1st District to a Democrat in 2018.
- The Congressional Leadership Fund spent $200,000 to support Rep. Mark Amodei (NV-02) in his renomination fight against perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian (son of legendary UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian). Tarkanian has lost nine competitive races since 2004.
- Rep. Dina Titus (NV-01) is fighting a reelection battle on two fronts. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) backed her progressive challenger Amy Vilela in the Democratic primary.
- Nevada Democrats’ ‘dummymander’ weakened Titus’ safe seat and gave apparent G.O.P. frontrunners Carolina Serrano and David Brog a solid chance of flipping the seat.
- Two other Nevada Democrats – Reps. Susie Lee (NV-03) and Steven Horsford (NV-04) – have challenging reelection bids in districts made more competitive by redistricting.
- G.O.P. attorney April Becker raised $1 million in the 3rd while veteran Sam Peters and Assemblywoman Annie Black are competing for the G.O.P. nod in the 4th District.
- The New York Times profiled Rice, who stands by his vote to impeach Trump. Rice blames Trump for his “gross failure – his inexcusable failure” on January 6. Rice said, Trump “watched it happen. He reveled in it… and he failed in that duty [to try to stop the riot].”
- The Washington Post wrote Rice may be in “the deepest political peril” of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, although he has a “fighting chance” to keep his seat.
- The Guardian interviewed Rice, who defended his vote to impeach saying simply, “I have a duty to uphold the Constitution.”
- The Wall Street Journal reported on Rep. Tom Rice’s “tough primary fight.” Rice told WSJ, “I supported Donald Trump in both of his elections, and I supported him 94% of the time on the House floor. But that’s not the question, it’s not about policy. The question is: should he be held accountable for his role in the riots on Jan. 6? And I think it’s very clear: the answer is yes.”
- Breitbart covered Trump’s statement ahead of the South Carolina primary. Trump assailed Mace in his characteristic understated fashion as ‘despised by everyone’ and ‘terrible’ while reemphasizing his support for failed 2018 House candidate Katie Arrington.
- Rep. Nancy Mace predicted she’d win a ‘double digit’ victory over her Trump-endorsed primary challenger in an interview with Fox News.
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© Dominic Moore, 2022