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Trump not on the ballot, but playing key role in high-profile Nevada and South Carolina primaries

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Donald Trump turns 76 on Tuesday, and he hopes to celebrate by doing something he hasn’t been able to do so far this year – watching one of his endorsed candidates run in the Republican primaries unseat an incumbent who crossed the former president.

This year, Trump’s birthday falls on the same day as four states – Nevada, South Carolina, Maine and North Dakota hold primaries, with Texas holding a special congressional election.

“Give me a birthday present, please. Two birthday presents,” Trump urged his supporters a week ago as he headlined a tele-rally for Katie Arrington and Russel Fry, the two Republican challengers he endorsed in the South Carolina GOP primaries. Seventh Congressional Districts.

Republican House of Representatives candidates Katie Arrington, center, and Russell Fry, left, join former President Donald Trump, right, at a rally March 12, 2022 in Florence, South Carolina.

Republican House of Representatives candidates Katie Arrington, center, and Russell Fry, left, join former President Donald Trump, right, at a rally March 12, 2022 in Florence, South Carolina.
(Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Fry, a state representative, is one of half a dozen primary candidates challenging five-term Republican Rep. Tom Rice.

Rice was one of ten House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump for fueling the deadly January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by right-wing extremists and other Trump supporters aimed at disrupting certification by the Congress of the current president. Victory for Biden’s Electoral College in the 2020 election.

FACED WITH MAJOR CHALLENGE ON HIS IMPLEMENTATION VOTE, SOUTH CAROLINA RICE SAYS HE ‘SUPPORTS’ CONSTITUTION

The self-proclaimed “Chamber of Commerce”-style Republican ponders his impeachment vote.

“Republicans are supposed to protect the Constitution. We are sworn to protect the Constitution, not a man,” Rice stressed in an interview with Fox News Digital on the eve of the primary. “And so what I did was take a conservative vote. If you want a conservative, I’m the guy.”

Six of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump are running for re-election, and Rice is the first to face a challenger endorsed by the former president. Trump, nearly a year and a half away from the White House, continues to wield immense influence over the GOP. And while his endorsed nominees have had great success in Republican primaries this year for open seats, he has yet to unseat an incumbent. All of this adds to the stakes in Tuesday’s primary.

Fry told Fox News he wouldn’t challenge Rice if the congressman didn’t vote for impeachment, adding “I think impeachment is the big elephant in the room and voters are incredibly frustrated with it. “

The solidly red district, which covers the northeast corner of South Carolina and includes the Myrtle Beach metropolitan area, known as the Grand Strand, and the interior Pee Dee region, is Trump country.

Rice noted that “I have a very conservative voting record. I voted with Donald Trump 95% of the time, more than anyone in the South Carolina delegation until the impeachment vote.” But he argued that “Trump’s aura is wearing down a bit” and that the former president should “absolutely not” be GOP leader in the future.

Fry says the former president “continues to show he’s the leader of our party,” and he said the former president’s endorsement of his campaign was “huge.” The energy is real. It’s incredible.”

With a crowded field of candidates, it’s possible that no candidate will top 50% and that Rice and Fry will most likely face off again in a runoff in two weeks.

REPRESENTING. NANCY MACE FACES TRUMP-BACKED PRIMARY CHALLENGE IN SOUTH CAROLINA

That’s likely not the case in the neighboring First Congressional District — a key general election seat that encompasses much of coastal South Carolina, including the fast-growing suburbs surrounding the city of Charleston — where first-term Rep. Nancy Mace faces a major challenge. of former state legislator Katie Arrington, who is backed by Trump.

Mace was an early supporter of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. But although Mace did not vote for impeachment, she has publicly stated that Trump’s rhetoric leading to the storming of the Capitol ” put all of our lives at risk.” And last October, Mace was the only South Carolina Republican to join congressional Democrats in voting to hold Trump’s former senior White House aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for defying an issued subpoena. by the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riot.

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Even though Trump targets her, Mace shines a light on her MAGA credentials.

“I’m the only candidate in this race who supports Americas First policies. We have a lot we can agree on as Americans, as conservatives, as Republicans , whatever brand of Republican you are in our country. I put our country first,” Mace told Fox News.

But Arrington says Mace is “not a conservative. That’s why I’m running. She turned her back on us in the district. She turned her back on Donald J. Trump.”

Trump also hopes to celebrate in the key general election battleground state of Nevada.

“So if you give me a nice birthday present – and it’s Adam, give me Adam as a birthday present,” the former president said last week as he headlined a tele-rally. with former state attorney general Adam Laxalt, the clear poll and fundraising favorite in the Nevada GOP Senate nomination race.

Laxalt faces seven other rivals for the chance to face Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a former state attorney general who national Republicans see as vulnerable in November. The race is one of the few across the country that will likely decide whether the GOP regains a majority in the Senate in November’s midterm.

LAXALT, BACKED BY TRUMP, SAYS PRIMARY ‘BIG DRY RUN’ FOR NOVEMBER SENATE ACCIDENT IN NEVADA

Besides Trump’s backing, Laxalt also enjoys the endorsement and support of longtime Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and big spending outside the Club for Growth group. Trump, McConnell and the Club for Growth have often been at odds with each other this cycle in other high-profile Republican primaries. Two other stars on the right — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — have traveled to Nevada in recent weeks to campaign with Laxalt.

Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt on the campaign trail as he runs for the 2022 GOP Senate nomination in Nevada

Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt on the campaign trail as he runs for the 2022 GOP Senate nomination in Nevada
(Adam Laxalt campaign)

“It’s still part of a primary to close out strong,” Laxalt pointed out in an interview with Fox News. “It’s our job on top of the ticket to make sure we’re exciting our base and educating our voters and that the primary is a great dry run for the general election.”

But before facing Cortez Masto, Laxalt must first win on Tuesday and standing in his way is his main rival in the race, Sam Brown, a West Point graduate and retired army captain who led troops in combat and who has recovered from serious injuries sustained in an IED explosion during a 2008 deployment to Afghanistan.

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Brown calls Laxalt “elitist” and touts its grassroots-style campaign, telling Fox News “it’s always been about building relationships and talking to people in Nevada, gaining trust.” And he claims that “we offer a contrast to Adam Laxalt’s DC-based campaign.”

Army veteran and first-time Senate candidate Sam Brown is running for the GOP nomination in the swing state of Nevada.

Army veteran and first-time Senate candidate Sam Brown is running for the GOP nomination in the swing state of Nevada.
(Sam Brown’s Senate Campaign)

There is a crowded field of candidates vying for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, in the race to take on Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak in November, who is sitting on a formidable $9.5 million war chest. Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo was the frontrunner even before getting Trump’s endorsement. Others in the race – former Sen. Dean Heller, Democrat-turned-Republican North Las Vegas mayor John Lee, former boxer Joe Gilbert and businessman Guy Nohra.

In Nevada’s Second Congressional District — a safe Republican seat — GOP Rep. Mark Amodei faces multiple challenges from the right, including from Douglas County Commissioner Danny Tarkanian, who is making his fourth run for the Bedroom.

In the Las Vegas-centric First Congressional District — a solidly blue seat — Democratic Rep. Dina Titus faces a main challenge from the left of progressive activist Amy Viela.

Democratic Gov. Jane Mills of Maine is unopposed in her party’s primary, as is former two-term Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who hopes to return to his old job in November. Mills made history in 2018, winning election as Maine’s first female governor, succeeding LePage’s limited term.

In the state’s sprawling Second Congressional District — the largest east of the Mississippi River — former Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin is the favorite to win the GOP primary. That would set up a rematch with Democratic Rep. Jared Golden, who defeated Poliquin in 2018. Golden is the only Democrat to vote against impeaching Trump in 2021 after taking the Capitol.

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North Dakota also holds primaries on Tuesday.

And in Texas, there is a special election in the 34th congressional district to fill the final six months of the term of former Democratic Representative Filemon Vela, who resigned earlier this year. The potential GOP takeover of this district — which stretches from areas east of San Antonio to the U.S.-Mexico border — could be an indicator of bigger Republican wins in November in other districts along of the border with high percentages of Spanish-speaking voters.

Fox News’ Jessica Loker and Austin Westfall contributed to this report

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Post expires at 5:04pm on Saturday June 25th, 2022