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Mace, Trump-backed Fry assure GOP's 6 US House seats in SC

Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., speaks during a news conference about a cannabis reform bill she introduced, Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Jacquelyn Martin/AP
FILE - Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., speaks during a news conference about a cannabis reform bill she introduced, Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Republican U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina won reelection Tuesday, beating Democrat Annie Andrews to keep her 1st District seat in GOP hands as the major parties battled for control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Mace's victory came in a midterm election in which the incumbent president's party has typically faced significant losses. Her challenger Andrews is a pediatrician who supported access to abortions in the red state and heightened firearms restrictions to counter the nation's alarming wave of gun violence.

The 1st District representing Charleston and neighboring rural counties had seesawed in recent years between the two major political parties. Democrat Joe Cunningham, who ran unsuccessfully for governor on Tuesday, had won the seat in 2018 before losing to Mace in the ensuing election.

Republican state legislative leaders acknowledged that they drew new maps of the 1st District to not only adjust for population growth but to also add more potential Republican voters. A trial over whether those districts discriminate against Black people by diluting their voting power is ongoing in federal court.

Mace came out ahead of a contested Republican primary that become a referendum of sorts on former President Donald Trump's influence after he had endorsed her primary opponent.

Meanwhile, Republican Russel Fry, who had toppled veteran Congressman Tom Rice of South Carolina in a primary with Trump's backing, handily won the seat in Tuesday's general election.

A state representative, Fry beat Democratic challenger Daryl Scott for the 7th House seat. The five-term incumbent Rice was the first of the 10 House Republicans to lose a reelection bid after voting to impeach Trump over the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riots.

Fry's victory marks the first time in 10 years that voters in the red Myrtle Beach congressional district will send a new elected official to Washington. At his election night watch party, Fry declared he would prioritize fighting inflation and securing the border.

The predominantly GOP wins in South Carolina's races came as Fry's counterparts across the country sought to flip key seats in a tight struggle by Democrats and Republicans for U.S. House dominance.

"I'm going to join a new wave of conservative congressmen who are going to walk up the Capitol steps, look (Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi in the eye -- and what are we going to say to her?" Fry asked the crowd. "You are fired!"

One Democrat prevailed in a U.S. House race in South Carolina as expected Tuesday.

U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, the highest-ranking Black member of Congress and the state's lone congressional Democrat, won his sixteenth term. He had faced Republican attorney Duke Buckner in the 6th District.

In the 2nd District, Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson — who has held onto his seat since 2001 — won reelection against Democratic challenger Judd Larkins.

Republican U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan was running unopposed for a seventh term serving the 3rd District.

In the 4th District, Republican U.S. Rep. William Timmons faced Independent write-in candidate Lee Turner after the Democratic nominee withdrew.

In the 5th District, Republican U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman defeated Democrat Evangeline Hundley, a real estate agent.


An earlier version of this story mispelled the last name of U.S. Rep. William Timmons.


Follow AP's coverage of the elections at: https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections

Check out https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections to learn more about the issues and factors at play in the 2022 midterm elections.