Published: Fri, June 15, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

The GOP is Donald Trump’s Party Now

The GOP is Donald Trump’s Party Now

Mark Sanford (R) of SC, a vocal critic of President Trump, lost a Republican congressional primary in SC after Mr. Trump urged voters to punish Representative Sanford's disloyalty by tossing him from office. On the day of the primary election, Trump tweeted that Sanford - who has voted with him 73 percent of the time - "has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA".

Voters on Tuesday decided state Rep. Katie Arrington would be the Republican candidate in the coastal 1st District.

During her campaign, Arrington vowed to support President Donald Trump's political agenda.

"At the very least he pushed her over the threshold to avoid a runoff", one strategist following the race told us.

During Tuesday night's primary election, State Representative Katie Arrington defeated Sanford 50.6 percent to 46.5 percent.

While it was not all good news for Democrats in Wisconsin on Tuesday - Ann Groves Lloyd, the Democrat running in the special election in Wisconsin State Assembly District 42, conceded to her Republican opponent - national Democratic operatives argue their showing in state legislative races shows voters are prepared to rebuke the President in November.

At age 65 and having already served as the mayor of Chattanooga and a U.S. senator, Corker is nearly certainly done running for any more elected offices.

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Another theory is that Trump has an ongoing beef with Michael Biundo, one of the operatives hired by Arrington to help run her insurgent campaign.

For her part, Arrington put out a campaign ad against Sanford during the campaign that said, "it's time for Mark Sanford to take a hike - for real this time". With just hours to go before the polls closed when Trump sent the tweet, it's unlikely his message was the deciding factor - but it served as a notable warning for members of Congress who defy him. Trump is working that to his advantage - savaging members of his own party over even slight critiques of his style or plans. "You have to be able to keep friends in the White House and make sure that you're able to pass things", Mandel said.

"There's only one Trump, for better or worse", said Chip Felkel, a Greenville Republican political consultant.

Sanford is the second congressional Republican to lose in a nominating contest this year, following Robert Pittenger's loss in North Carolina last month.

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, the only Republican seeking re-election in a state that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016, and Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen sailed through their primaries, and already have begun focusing their criticism on each other in what is expected to be among the most competitive Senate races this year. Last week in Alabama, Martha Roby, a conservative Republican, was forced into a runoff election after a primary battle, which centered around who is more devoted to Trump.

Comstock's district in the Washington suburbs, home to many federal government workers, has drifted left in recent years.

Casting Sanford as a man opposed to the brand of progress on offer by President Trump and his supporters, and further referencing "Argentina" in a sideline bit of shade that is meant to be evocative of Sanford's public disgrace in 2009.

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U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford hugged his sons after addressing his supporters at Liberty Tap Room in Mount Pleasant, S.C., Tuesday, June 12, 2018.

Still, she didn't initially support Trump's candidacy either.

Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock in northern Virginia's 10th District will face the victor of a six-way Democratic primary.

Sanford was not the only establishment Republican to face challenges Tuesday. He was sacked by the campaign because he protested in front of the RNC because he thought they were insufficiently supportive of Trump. But if not, the lowest vote-getter is eliminated and their votes reallocated until one contender gains a majority.

The use of the system angered outgoing Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who told a television station it was "the most horrific thing in the world".

"A lot of them would vote for it", Corker said Tuesday of his GOP colleagues.

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