Former President Donald Trump’s one-time Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney broke with his old boss on Monday by endorsing GOP Rep. Nancy Mace for reelection in South Carolina. Mr. Mulvaney, who served as Mr. Trump’s top aide for roughly 15 months, said the incumbent lawmaker had proven herself as a “fiscally conservative leader” and deserved a second term in Washington.
“Getting things done in Washington isn’t easy and it doesn’t have to be a nasty business — especially when members of Congress put their constituents’ needs before partisan politics,” said Mr. Mulvaney, who served as a member of South Carolina’s congressional delegation before joining the Trump-era White House.
The endorsement comes as Ms. Mace is facing a primary challenge from former state Rep. Katie Arrington, who has garnered the backing of Mr. Trump.
Since announcing her candidacy, Mrs. Arrington has sought to paint the incumbent as “a sellout” who “is more interested in being a mainstream media celebrity than fighting for the people she is supposed to represent.”
Mr. Trump has echoed the sentiment with his endorsement, arguing that Ms. Mace’s “remarks and attitude have been devastating for her community, and not at all representative of the Republican Party to which she has been very disloyal.”
“Katie Arrington, on the other hand, is liked and respected and a true Republican,” Mr. Trump said.
The race is a snapshot of a larger trend within the GOP ahead of the 2022 midterms. Incumbents, like Ms. Mace, are facing challengers from their right for being insufficiently committed to Mr. Trump’s America First agenda and populist politics.
Since being elected to Congress last cycle, Ms. Mace has cut something of a disparate profile. While championing conservative causes, she’s also backed marijuana and at times been willing to criticize Mr. Trump.
“Her voting record is exceptional when it comes to promoting smaller government and lower taxes,” Mr. Mulvaney said. “And refreshingly, actually she works overtime to get things done in Congress. I support her 100 percent.”
Ms. Mace, the first woman to graduate from the Corps of Cadets program at The Citadel, ousted an incumbent Democrat in 2020 to become the first Republican woman elected to Congress from South Carolina.