Rep. Mark SanfordMarshall (Mark) Clement SanfordOvernight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Haley shocks Washington with resignation | Turkish officials reportedly conclude Saudis killed journalist | Trump eyes second Kim summit after midterms GOP on timing of Haley’s announcement: 'Unusual' and 'odd' On The Money: House passes 4B spending bill to avert shutdown | Trump 'not happy' after Fed's latest rate hike | Trump says he refused meeting with Trudeau MORE> (R-S.C.) appears to have lost his Tuesday primary, which became a referendum on his criticism of President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE>.
State Rep. Katie Arrington, who hammered Sanford as a traitor to Trump, is projected to win the GOP primary in a victory that may spell the end of Sanford’s long political career in the state.
The Associated Press called the race just after midnight, with Arrington leading Sanford, 51 percent-47 percent, with 99 percent of precincts reporting. Sanford becomes the second incumbent this cycle to lose a reelection bid in the primary.Sanford had never lost an election until Tuesday, even after he was caught having an affair in 2009 while governor. But his willingness to question Trump, who is lionized by the GOP primary electorate, proved politically fatal. The congressman repeatedly criticized Trump both during the election and since the president took office. In 2017, he told Politico that Trump “has fanned the flames of intolerance” and has been one of the few GOP lawmakers to demand Trump release his tax returns.
That criticism became the centerpiece of Arrington’s campaign — she blasted Sanford as a “Never Trumper” on the stump and in campaign ads, arguing that the district would be best served by a Trump ally instead of an antagonist.
She also savaged him for his affair, airing an innuendo-laden television ad that told Sanford to “take a hike,” a reference to his initial cover story that he had been hiking the Appalachian Trail when he had really gone to Argentina to see his mistress.
That strategy won Arrington a last minute endorsement of Trump, who tweeted his support for her hours before the polls closed.
"Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to [make American great again]. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina," Trump wrote.
"I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love. She is tough on crime and will continue our fight to lower taxes. VOTE Katie!"
Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina. I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love. She is tough on crime and will continue our fight to lower taxes. VOTE Katie!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2018
However, it's unclear how important that tweet was to the final margin, considering it was sent less than three hours before the polls closed.
Sanford addressed his relationship with Trump during his concession speech, which he delivered before the results were official but with the writing very much on the wall. He warned of the "inflection point" in both American politics and the GOP while defending his decisions to take on Trump.
This news has been published by title Mark Sanford Returns To Congress, Warning Republicans His Loss Is \'a Wake Up Call\'
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