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2 Republicans, 2 Democrats want to unseat Mace in SC’s 1st District

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2 Republicans, 2 Democrats want to unseat Mace in SC’s 1st District

Apr 02, 2024 | 5:12 pm ET
By Abraham Kenmore
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2 Republicans, 2 Democrats want to unseat Mace in 1st District
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Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) speaks to reporters as she leaves the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 27, 2023, in Washington, DC. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace will face two Republican challengers for her coastal 1st District seat in June, but her former chief of staff will not be among them.

Daniel Hanlon, a longtime Mace staffer, was fired late last year, allegedly taking his office popcorn maker with him as he went. Then in January, he filed with the Federal Election Commission to challenge his former boss.

But when state filing ended Monday for candidates to get on ballots, Hanlon was not among those running for the seat — or any other in South Carolina.

Republicans challenging Mace are Catherine Templeton, a former director of two state agencies, and Bill Young, a Marine veteran and nonprofit executive. On the Democratic side, two candidates registered to run: Michael Moore and Mac Deford, both of Mount Pleasant.

In 2010, then-Gov. Nikki Haley appointed Templeton to lead South Carolina’s professional licensing agency. Then in 2012, the governing board of the Department of Health and Environmental Control — all Haley appointees — chose Templeton to lead that larger agency. She resigned in January 2015.

In 2018, she finished third in a five-way GOP primary for governor, won by Gov. Henry McMaster.

Templeton, of Mount Pleasant, is running as a strong supporter of former President Donald Trump, but she doesn’t have his endorsement.

That went to Mace in March, after she endorsed Trump over Haley in South Carolina’s presidential primary in February. Following Trump’s endorsement, Mace called on Templeton to drop out. In response, Templeton’s campaign said voters should make the choice.

But the relationship between Mace and Trump has not always been smooth. In 2022, Haley endorsed Mace against a Trump-backed rival after the congresswoman irked the former president by voting to impeach him.

It’s also not clear how much Trump’s endorsement helps or hurts in the 1st District. Not only did Mace defeat Trump’s candidate two years ago, but her district was also the only one in South Carolina where a majority of voters choose Haley over Trump for president.

Unlike Mace and Templeton, Young is a self-confessed newcomer to politics. He serves as the state director for the Veteran Golfers Association.

As for the Democrats, Moore is a businessman and former CEO of the International African American Museum. He is also the great-great grandson of Robert Smalls, a Civil War hero, Reconstruction-era state legislator and five-term congressman.

A first-time congressional candidate, Moore picked up several endorsements already from local elected officials including former Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg.

Deford is a Coast Guard veteran and attorney who most recently served as general counsel for the town of Hilton Head Island. He also has picked up several endorsements from local city councilmen.

Ben Frasier, a perennial candidate who has run for the seat many times, filed to run but then withdrew on a handwritten note dated March 28.

2 Republicans, 2 Democrats want to unseat Mace in SC’s 1st District
A map of South Carolina’s congressional districts, which were redrawn in 2021 following the 2020 Census. (Screenshot from the S.C. Senate redistricting site)

The 1st Congressional District centers on Charleston and runs along the state’s southern coast. It is at the center of a lawsuit pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, which accuses state lawmakers of racially gerrymandered the district to keep a Republican in office.

Last Thursday, the same panel of federal judges who last year ruled the voting lines unconstitutionally discriminate agreed to let 2024 elections proceed on schedule with the challenged lines while the nation’s high court deliberates the appeal.

This will be the second election under the challenged lines redrawn in 2021. Mace first won the seat in 2020, when she narrowly beat one-term Democratic Rep. Joe Cunningham, flipping the seat back to red. After redistricting, Mace easily beat her Democratic opponent in 2022.

As of the end of last year, Mace had raised $1.5 million while Moore had raised $460,000 and Deford had raised $151,000. Financial information for the other candidates is not yet available, although Templeton touted in a release raising $500,000 through Monday.

Of South Carolina’s seven House seats, the 1st District is the only one considered even possible for a flip by the Cook Political Report, a non-partisan political analysis publication. It’s labeled “likely Republican,” which means it’s not considered competitive at this point but has “the potential to become engaged.”

The 3rd District

The retirement of Rep. Jeff Duncan after eight terms is opening up a lively race with 11 candidates, including eight Republicans.

The most prominent names in the race are Kevin Bishop, the recently retired communication director for U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham; state Rep. Stewart Jones, a founding member of the hard-right Freedom Caucus; Sheri Biggs, a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard; and Mark Burns, a pastor who gained national attention for his support of Trump.

Other candidates include businessman Franky Franco, Navy veteran Phil Healy, businessman Michael LaPierre, and Elspeth Snow Murday.

In that eight-way primary, Burns has Trump’s endorsement this time. The pastor has twice run unsuccessfully for the 4th District without Trump’s official backing.

“There are many great Conservatives exploring a run for that seat, but Mark Burns has been with me from the very beginning of our Movement to Make America Great Again,” the former president wrote Monday on Truth Social, his social media site.

Two Democrats have also filed to run: Bryon Best and Frances Guldner.

The district covers 11 counties along South Carolina’s northern border with Georgia, from Edgefield to Oconee counties and east to Newberry County.

The 6th District

South Carolina’s only Democrat in Congress, Jim Clyburn, is running for a 17th term, a race he is expected to win easily. He will face no Democratic challengers in the primary.

Still, five other candidates have filed against him, including attorney Duke Buckner and welder Justin Scott, who will be competing for the Republican nomination.

Three other candidates have filed to run as third-party candidates.

The district runs from Columbia to Charleston and from the state’s western boundary with Georgia to the Pee Dee.

The Supreme Court ruling on redistricting in the 1st Congressional District could impact the boundaries of the 6th District, but for this term it will keep its current borders.

The 4th District

U.S. Rep. William Timmons, first elected in 2018, is facing a primary challenge from state House Rep. Adam Morgan, chairman of the chamber’s Freedom Caucus.

Timmons has also been endorsed by Trump, repeating an endorsement he won two years ago. Like Mace, he called on his primary opponent to drop out following the latest endorsement.

Kathryn Harvey, chair of the Spartanburg County Democratic Party, is the lone Democrat to file for South Carolina’s most compact district, covering most of just two counties: Greenville and Spartanburg.

Two other candidates have filed to run on the Constitution Party line.

The 2nd District

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, first elected in 2001, faces a challenge from another Republican in Lexington County, Hamp Redmond of Swansea.

Two Democratic candidates, David Robinson II and Daniel Shrief, have also filed to run for the seat.

The 2nd Congressional stretches from Aiken and Barnwell counties at the Georgia border to northern Richland County.

The 7th District

U.S. Rep. Russell Fry is running for a second term after unseating incumbent Tom Rice in the primary in 2022 and winning the seat.

Two Democrats, Mal Hyman and Daryl Scott, have registered to run against him.

The 7th Congressional District is anchored in fast-growing Horry County and extends south through Georgetown County and north through the Pee Dee to Chesterfield County.

The 5th District

U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, who has served in Congress since 2017, is running without primary opposition. The Rock Hill Republican will face Democrat Evangeline Hundley in November.

The 5ht Congressional District stretches from outside Sumter north to the suburbs of Charlotte, North Carolina, and west to Union County.