There were 10 House Republicans who sided with Democrats in 2021 and voted to impeach former President Donald Trump over his purportedly inciteful role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, and Trump swore at that time that he would seek electoral vengeance against those 10 members of Congress.
The former president achieved victory in that regard for one of those 10 House Republicans — Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) — as Rice was handily defeated Tuesday in South Carolina’s primary elections by a Trump-endorsed challenger, state Rep. Russell Fry (R), The Hill reported.
Trump had also sought to oust incumbent Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), who did not vote for impeachment but has been critical of the former president and declared him responsible for the riot, but fell short in that regard as Mace prevailed over Trump-endorsed challenger Katie Arrington.
Anti-Trump incumbent defeated by Trump-backed challenger
According to unofficial results posted online by the South Carolina Election Commission, a total of 84,937 votes were cast in the GOP primary race for the state’s 7th Congressional District which is currently represented by five-term incumbent Rice.
Rice received 20,846 votes, or about 24.54 percent of all votes cast, which was less than half of the 43,374, or 51.07 percent of all votes cast, that were received by Fry.
It was a slightly tighter race over in South Carolina’s 1st District, which is represented by Mace, but she still emerged victorious rather easily over her challengers.
Per the commission’s unofficial results, out of 73,799 total votes cast, Mace received 39,401, or 53.39 percent, compared to 33,528, or 45.43 percent, for Arrington.
Rep. Cheney is up next
Roll Call reported that Rep. Rice is the first of the 10 House Republicans who voted for impeachment to be defeated in a primary after being marked for electoral revenge by the former president.
Four of those 10 decided to retire rather than face a primary challenge in a bid for re-election, and Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) came in second in California’s unique “jungle primary” in which the top two candidates, regardless of party, move on to the general election in November.
With Rice now knocked out, the next biggest target — really, Trump’s top target of the 10 — is Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who has doubly earned the former president’s wrath by serving as vice-chair on the highly partisan and virulently anti-Trump House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riot that is unabashedly attempting to hang responsibility for that event on Trump.
Rice was previously a top Trump supporter
Ironically, Roll Call noted that, before voting in favor of Trump’s impeachment, Rice had been among the former president’s biggest supporters — one who had voted in support of Trump 93.4 percent of the time and had even voted in support of objections to the 2020 electoral results in Arizona and Pennsylvania, which occurred just before the outbreak of the riot.
This is undoubtedly a victory over a “traitor” that Trump will be pleased with, but it remains to be seen if the former president will be able to defeat any of the other impeachment-supporting GOPers that he has vowed to oust from Congress.