U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina raised more than $1 million in the first quarter of this year, the bulk of that haul coming in the weeks after former President Donald Trump threw his backing behind one of her GOP primary opponents.
Mace told The Associated Press this week that she raised $1.17 million between Jan. 1 and March 31 of this year, from 25,000 distinct donations.
The bulk of that — about 83%, or $970,000 — came during February and March, after Trump had announced his support for Katie Arrington, the former state lawmaker challenging Mace for the Republican nomination in the 1st District.
“Momentum in a midterm matters,” Mace told The Associated Press on Tuesday, adding that she had no campaign debt or outstanding campaign loans. “Thousands of grassroots supporters and donors have given us the momentum it takes to win going into the final quarter of the primary.”
The haul also represented Mace’s biggest of this campaign cycle, during which she has raised a total of about $4.2 million and has about $2.3 million cash on hand, the Republican told AP.
The money consisted of contributions to both Mace’s reelection committee, as well as the Team Mace Joint Fundraising Committee, according to the campaign. Money from the latter group gets disbursed to either the campaign or Mace’s leadership PAC, she said.
Seeking her second term, Mace will face two GOP challengers in the June 14 primary, including Arrington, who also sought the 1st District seat in 2018. That year, Arrington gained GOP acclaim for defeating U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford in the primary, handing the former governor his first-ever electoral loss.
In that race, Trump tweeted his support for Arrington just before the close of primary balloting. She went on to lose the general election to Democrat Joe Cunningham, the first red-to-blue flip of a South Carolina district in decades.
Cunningham — now seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Gov. Henry McMaster — served a single term before a narrow 2020 loss to Mace, who became South Carolina’s first Republican woman elected to Congress. During that effort, she also had backing from Trump, for whom she had worked on his 2016 campaign.
But, after taking office, Mace drew the ire of Trump and his backers by voting to certify President Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election, as well as her support for holding Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress and her frequent television appearances blaming Trump for the Jan. 6 insurrection. In November, Trump solicited “any interest from good and SMART America First Republican Patriots” to run against a list of sitting House Republicans, including Mace.
This February, Arrington announced her intent to challenge Mace, calling her “a sellout” who “is more interested in being a mainstream media celebrity than fighting for the people she is supposed to represent.”
Calling herself a “pro-Trump conservative,” Arrington also told AP she felt the election had been stolen from Trump, a sentiment expressed by many of the candidates across the country to receive his backing.
The election was not stolen and was certified as fair and legitimate by state electoral officials throughout the nation who investigated the Trump campaign’s complaints and found them systematically groundless. Dozens of state and federal courts also rejected the claims.
After her fealty pledge, Trump swiftly endorsed Arrington, saying during a rally before hundreds in South Carolina last month that Mace — whom he supported in her own 2020 campaign — is “crazy” and “has no idea what she’s doing.”
Making her candidacy official Feb. 8, Arrington could fundraise for less than two months in the quarter that ended March 31. Her campaign did not immediately respond to a message seeking her fundraising totals.
Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.