Tom Rice: South Carolina ousts Republican who voted to impeach Trump
A Republican congressman has lost his bid to keep his seat after a fierce backlash to his vote to impeach former US President Donald Trump.
Tom Rice, a five-term incumbent in South Carolina, was defeated in a primary race by state legislator Russell Fry, who was backed by Trump.
Nancy Mace, a Republican in the state who had criticised Mr Trump, easily won her vote.
Mr Rice had been a staunch Trump supporter until the US Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, when he joined ten other Republicans in voting to impeach the outgoing president for inciting insurgency.
In the Senate, President Trump was found not guilty of the political allegation. A Democratic-led congressional investigation into the Capitol riot is currently holding public hearings, accusing the previous president of organising a coup attempt.
The ten Republicans who voted to impeach Trump have had a mixed bag of results. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger have become outspoken Trump critics and currently serve on the US House of Representatives committee investigating the Capitol violence. Mr Kinzinger is among those who will not run for re-election. Others are fighting for survival in politics.
Ms Mace did not vote to impeach Mr Trump, but she did earn his wrath by denouncing him for the Capitol disturbance and voting to certify President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.
Mr Trump endorsed her opponent, Katie Arrington, a former state legislator. Ms Mace, on the other hand, easily exceeded the required 50% vote threshold to avoid a run-off election.
He celebrated his 76th birthday on Tuesday and encouraged fans to give him two birthday gifts by defeating Mr Rice and Ms Mace.
Political observers predict that the Republican primary winners in the ruby-red state of South Carolina will defeat their Democratic competitors in November’s mid-term elections.
Mayra Flores won a special election in the 34th district, a seat that President Biden carried by 13 points in 2020.
As Americans cope with growing inflation, Mr Biden’s approval rating slipped for the third week in a row to 39 per cent in a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll.