Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Trump critic Mark Sanford falls in GOP primary in South Carolina

Trump critic Mark Sanford falls in GOP primary in South Carolina

Even for a political figure with no shortage of confidence wading into his own party's decision-making, Trump's attack on Sanford was a bold case of going after a sitting member of Congress. Trump endorsed Arrington, a first term state legislator.

Sanford told his supporters shortly before 11 p.m. he was likely to lose his bid for re-election Tuesday night. Candidates need more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid the head-to-head runoff. She branded Sanford as a "Never Trump" Republican in name only who nearly reflexively disagrees with the president.

Arrington made Sanford's disagreements with Trump a cornerstone of her campaign.

Sanford told aides in 2009 that he was away "hiking the Appalachian Trail" when he was actually in Argentina visiting Maria Belen Chapur, a television reporter who he would later call his "soul mate". Scarborough noted that Sanford has said a number of critical statements about Trump in the past, so the MSNBC host flat out asked "Why don't we just say [the GOP] has devolved into a cult?"

"He is MIA and nothing but trouble", Trump tweeted, adding, "He is better off in Argentina".

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said "I support Mark Sanford" before heading into an immigration meeting with House Republican leadership on Capitol Hill Tuesday afternoon.

"I can not look my children in the eye and justify a vote for a man who promotes and boasts about sexually assaulting women", Roby said after the tape was released. "I look forward to working together with him to drain the swamp and continue making America great again".

He also slammed Sanford as being 'better off in Argentina'. He was a JAG officer in the Army Reserve and South Carolina Army National Guard but resigned his commission after the September 11 attacks to enlist in the infantry. The Cramer-Heitkamp matchup could potentially be a tight race, but in a state that Trump won by more than 30 percent in 2016, Heitkamp will likely lean on her moderate record and support for certain Trump policies.

Republican John Cox did qualify for one of the top two spots in the California governor's race - alongside Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is heavily favored to win the race in the Democratic state.

In Virginia, two women will compete for a suburban Washington congressional district seen as key to Democrats' hopes of retaking the House majority in November.

As voters made their primary choices in five states, SC wasn't the only place where Republicans favored conservatives who are seen as closely tied to Trump and his agenda. In turn, Arrington sought to cast the three-term congressman as a traitor who was opposed to the president's agenda.

To date, 476 women have filed to run for the House in 2018, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, surpassing the 272 who filed in 2016. In announcing his campaign last summer, Cunningham became one of the first Democratic candidates to come out against Nancy Pelosi for speaker should the party take back the House. What the GOP voters did last night may have been a move to trade in a scandal-plagued incumbent in favor of someone who will bring less baggage into the November election. Voters also approved this voting system for November's general election yesterday. The eventual victor will challenge Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin.

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