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Mace, who was 1 of 8 House Republicans who voted last year to oust McCarthy, was targeted by the former House speaker

For a second straight election, Republican Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina has survived a serious primary challenge. 

The Associated Press on Tuesday projects that Mace will win renomination in South Carolina's competitive Low Country-based 1st Congressional District by defeating Catherine Templeton, a former director of South Carolina's labor agency who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2018, and Marine Corps veteran Bill Young.

Templeton was backed by millions spent by outside groups aligned with former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

"We did it - You, Lowcountry voters did it! A thousand times over - THANK YOU!," Mace wrote in a social media post moments after her race was called.


Mace, who was first elected to the House in 2020, survived a Republican primary challenge two years ago from a rival backed by former President Trump. 

Trump had targeted Mace after she blamed him for the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters aiming to upend congressional certification of President Biden's 2020 election victory.

Fast-forward two years, and Mace now has Trump's backing after she endorsed the former president and campaigned for him earlier this year in South Carolina's crucial GOP presidential primary.

Nancy Mace faces a second straight primary challenge

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks at the 13th annual South Carolina Prayer Breakfast on July 26, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Senator Tim Scott)

However, unlike two years ago, when then-Speaker McCarthy had her back, the now-former House speaker targeted Mace, who last year was one of eight House Republicans to break ranks and vote to oust McCarthy. The former speaker is seeking revenge as he works to defeat the eight Republican lawmakers.


Around $9 million was shelled out to run ads in the primary, according to the national ad tracking firm AdImapct. Nearly half of the money came from McCarthy aligned outside groups that targeted Mace.

Republican California Rep. Kevin McCarthy

Then-Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, was voted out of his role as House speaker. (Nathan Howard/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Mace, who was also backed by Republican Gov. Henry McMaster and current House Speaker Mike Johnson, had roughly $3 million in outside spending on her behalf.

Templeton was supported by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Joe Wilson of the neighboring 2nd Congressional District.

Mace has faced controversy as several of her congressional staffers quit late last year and earlier this year. Additionally, a former Mace chief of staff briefly launched a primary challenge against his former boss.

If none of the three candidates in the GOP primary had won a majority in Tuesday's contest, the top two contenders would have faced off in a runoff in two weeks.

Businessman Michael B. Moore and veteran Mac Deford were vying for the Democrat nod in the 1st District.

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