Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Republican Trump critic ousted in closely-watched primary

Republican Trump critic ousted in closely-watched primary

Sanford's primary opponent, state legislator Katie Arrington, tried to frame the campaign about how critical Sanford has been of Trump.

Sanford told his supporters shortly before 11 p.m. he was likely to lose his bid for re-election Tuesday night.

Unable to muster 50 percent of the Republican primary vote for governor, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, one of Trump's top allies in the state, was forced into a runoff for the GOP nomination. But Arrington made an issue of his criticism of the president, calling him a "Never Trumper".

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".

Then the tweet got personal, with Trump saying Sanford is "better off in Argentina".

"A lot of people have come up to me over the course of this campaign and said, 'Are you for or against Trump?' And I'd say, 'I'm neither for nor against Trump.' I'm for ideas that I've long stood for, over the entirety of my time in politics, based on limited government'".

But Trump says Rep. Katie Arrington "was such a good candidate, and Sanford was so bad, I had to give it a shot". "I look forward to working together with him to drain the swamp and continue making America great again".

The district includes portions of Beaufort, Colleton, Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester Counties and the election marks Sanford's first contest with President Donald Trump in office.

Republican Trump critic ousted in closely-watched primary
Republican Trump critic ousted in closely-watched primary

The outcome - one that national Republicans working on House races said as recently as Tuesday morning they did not anticipate - is another sign that GOP primary voters are rejecting lawmakers who break with Trump. She'll face off against Republican Representative Barbara Comstock, who won her third term in 2016 by six points in a district that overwhelmingly backed Hillary Clinton.

Attorney General Alan Wilson will face two Republican challengers: William Herlong and Todd Atwater. Tim Kaine, the party's 2016 vice presidential nominee and a heavy favorite for re-election, in November's midterm election. Local, state and national Democrats have called on him to drop out of the race in the deep-red district and said they wouldn't support him if he won. Trump's popularity with Republican primary voters has been enough to drive other intra-GOP Trump antagonists, like Arizona Sen.

Sanford has at times criticized Trump and didn't back off that criticism in debates with Arrington.

In the state's Second Congressional District, which includes the Hampton Roads region, Democrat Elaine Luria was the declared victor over rival Karen Mallard with 95 percent of the vote tallied.

The president congratulated last week for the Republican Party's showing in Tuesday's California primaries.

The victor of the Democratic race is expected to face Republican state Attorney General Adam Laxalt in November.

North Dakota Republicans chose Rep. Kevin Cramer to challenge vulnerable Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, at the 2018 North Dakota Republican Party Convention in Grand Forks, North Dakota, April 7, 2018. In the 4th District, vacated by retiring Rep. Ruben Kihuen, two former congressmen - Democrat Steven Horsford and Republican Cresent Hardy - are the favorites.

The incumbent governor has 44 percent of the statewide vote with 45 percent reporting.

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