Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., on Monday joined the list of South Carolina Republicans backing former President Trump over Nikki Haley ahead of the New Hampshire primaries.
Mace, who notably ruffled feathers in the House GOP as one of the eight Republicans who voted to oust Kevin McCarthy as House speaker last year, told The Associated Press that she was backing Trump over Haley, who lives in her congressional district and supported her in 2022 against a Trump-backed challenger.
“I don’t see eye to eye perfectly with any candidate. And until now I’ve stayed out of it,” Mace told the AP. “But the time has come to unite behind our nominee.”
Mace had stayed out of the 2024 Republican primary as two fellow South Carolinians – Haley, the former governor, and Sen. Tim Scott – entered the race last year. Scott, who ended his own 2024 bid in November and was appointed to the Senate by Haley in 2012, endorsed Trump over Haley on Friday in a rousing call-and-response speech in New Hampshire.
On Saturday, Trump was joined on stage at another New Hampshire rally by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, the state’s lieutenant governor and other senior statewide officials, including the state’s attorney general, treasurer and House speaker, as well as U.S. Reps. Joe Wilson, William Timmons and Russell Fry.
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Haley, appearing on Fox News Monday morning, touted that she won South Carolina twice and expected a strong showing in the upcoming primaries in the Palmetto State.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ departure from the race on Sunday leaves Haley as the main GOP candidate remaining to challenge Trump.
New Hampshire votes on Tuesday, but South Carolina’s primary is in a month, and the state’s Republican leadership has largely already lined up behind Trump. Mace’s endorsement means that Trump has secured four of the state’s six Republican U.S. House members. Rep. Ralph Norman is backing Haley and Rep. Jeff Duncan is saying he’s not endorsing before the primary.
Just two years ago, Mace and Haley were aligned in a congressional primary that tested Trump’s heft in South Carolina, where his own 2016 presidential primary win helped cement his nomination. After the Jan. 6, 2021, riot on the U.S. Capitol, Mace, who had just been sworn in as a freshman lawmaker, went on TV to criticize Trump for his role in the day’s events, saying the president’s accomplishments in office “were wiped out in just a few short hours.”
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Trump responded by calling Mace “an absolutely terrible candidate” and soliciting “any interest from good and SMART America First Republican Patriots” to run against a list of sitting House Republicans, including Mace, whom he endorsed for her first run in 2020 and who worked for his 2016 campaign.
When Katie Arrington, who unsuccessfully sought the seat in 2018, launched her 2022 bid against Mace, she had Trump’s “Complete and Total Endorsement.” During a pre-primary rally in South Carolina, Trump called Mace “crazy” and “a terrible person.”
Haley, meanwhile, stumped with Mace, as she had in 2020, helping raise money and appearing in a television ad on her behalf, calling her a “fighter.”
But the two reportedly haven’t spoken since last year, when Mace’s name was floated as a possible running mate for Trump, should he win the GOP nomination.
On Monday, Mace said she felt Trump was the better option this year.
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“Donald Trump’s record in his first term should tell every America how vital it is he be returned to office,” she told the AP.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.