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The Republicans vying to replace Congresswoman Nancy Mace

Republican primary challengers Bill Young (left) and Catherine Templeton (right) will run against incumbent Congresswoman Nancy Mace June 11th.
Election campaigns for Bill Young and Catherine Templeton
Republican challengers Bill Young (left) and Catherine Templeton (right) are running against incumbent Congresswoman Nancy Mace June 11th for S.C. District 1

The two Republican primary challengers looking to replace Congresswoman Nancy Mace say the Lowcountry deserves better, calling the incumbent’s conduct in Washington, D.C. embarrassing.

“Look, I don’t know how many enemies she’s made in Washington,” says challenger, Catherine Templeton.

The 53-year-old labor lawyer says she’s angry Mace broke party ranks last fall when she voted to oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

“For three weeks, we didn’t have a speaker,” says Templeton. “We did not have a speaker for the United States of America, which legally left us flat footed.”

“Three or four days later, Hamas attacked Israel,” she says.

Catherine Templeton

Also, days later, Templeton recalls Mace appearing on television, wearing a white t-shirt to work with a bold, red letter “A” as in “adulterous” on the front. At the time, Mace told reporters she’d sported the so-called scarlet letter because she’d been demonized for her vote.

Templeton says it was just yet another example of Mace creating chaos to get on camera. The incumbent congresswoman has faced similar criticism before.

“We want a serious adult who finds honorable ways to govern,” says Templeton. “A consistent conservative who we can rely on to go to Washington and be a work horse.”

“Run to work, not the camera,” Templeton adds.

Templeton, a former state labor secretary and DHEC director, says she hears from constituents who are also upset with Mace. She credits them with helping her campaign outraise the incumbent during the first quarter.

She says the Lowcountry needs a conservative with a strong business background and touts her time as president of US Brick, a national brick manufacturer.

If elected, Templeton says she will work to secure the nation’s borders and already has experience with immigration law. She says she fought as labor secretary to bring Boeing to North Charleston. And she believes the Lowcountry needs help with aging infrastructure and hurricane evacuation routes.

Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., speaks during a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Mark Schiefelbein/AP
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AP
Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., speaks during a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Bill Young

Also running in the June primary is political newcomer Bill Young.

“When Hamas attacked in October, I really started to take a look and see what our current representative is doing,” says Young.

The Marine veteran who served in Iraq says he wasn’t impressed by what he saw.

“She sticks her finger up and goes to the political winds,” he says.

Young believes Mace flip flops on political issues for personal fame. And he’s angry the congresswoman publicly called out the Marines after a fighter jet disappeared from radar over the Lowcountry last fall.

Young believes he could better serve Lowcountry veterans. He founded the Veteran’s Life Center which helps homeless vets transition into civilian life. The former financial advisor says he changed career paths after several veteran friends committed suicide.

If elected, Young says he’ll focus on immigration and inflation. But he’s also worried about the future of Lowcountry shrimpers. He’s spreading his campaign message door-to-door.

“You know South Carolina is a high touch political state,” says Young.

“They want you to shake their hand. They want you to ask for your vote. They don’t want to see commercials blasting each other.”

Incumbent Nancy Mace

Mace, meantime, is well aware critics call her “national Nancy” because of her frequent national television appearances.

“I actually turn down more national interviews than I give,” says Mace.

The two-term incumbent fighting to keep the coastal, first district seat doesn’t deny she gets a lot of media attention. But she insists it’s because she says what she thinks.

“I don’t tow the Republican party line when they’re wrong,” says Mace.

“I call my colleagues out time and time again. And sometimes that gets me in hot water and that’s okay,” she says.

While her challengers say it’s not okay for the 46-year-old to further divide the party, Mace says she’s the only Republican who can win the general election and keep the seat red.

She says she’s tough on immigration, supports exceptions to abortion bans and can once again invoke the name Donald Trump. The former president once called Mace “nasty” and “disloyal”. She blamed him for the deadly capitol attack.

“We’ve come a long way,” says Mace. “But he endorsed my re-election campaign. He’s fully on team Mace.”

In 2022, Mace did not have Trump on her side. He endorsed her primary challenger, but Mace won.

Primary 2024

Voters head to the polls for both the Democratic and Republican primaries Tuesday, June 11th. Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

As we head into the election, we want to hear from you. Have questions about the candidates or the voting process? We are working with partners at America Amplified to get the answers and share them with you. Submit your questions using the form below.

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Victoria Hansen is our Lowcountry connection covering the Charleston community, a city she knows well. She grew up in newspaper newsrooms and has worked as a broadcast journalist for more than 20 years. Her first reporting job brought her to Charleston where she covered local and national stories like the Susan Smith murder trial and the arrival of the Citadel’s first female cadet.