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First Female Graduate of The Citadel is Determined to Flip SC-1 Back

Gabriella Hoffman
by Gabriella Hoffman Read Profile arrow_right_alt

One of the most watched races in the 2020 election cycle is South Carolina’s First Congressional District.

Right in the heart of Lowcountry and the charming town of Charleston, SC-1 is a beloved destination for foodies, outdoor enthusiasts and vacation-goers.

Republicans comfortably held the seat until Joe Cunningham, a ‘moderate’ Democrat, defeated Republican Katie Arrington in November 2018. If you recall, there was a lot of controversy surrounding Arrington’s selection as the GOP nominee. Former Congressman Mark Sanford, who often clashed with President Trump, lost to her in the Republican Party primary.

President Trump won the congressional district 53% to 41% during the 2016 general election. As Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) gradually but unsurprisingly shed his moderate coat and towed the Democrat Party line on impeachment, it’s created a huge opening for Republicans to retake the seat. As of March 24th, the race is listed as a toss-up. Per Cook Political Report, the seat is still listed a R+10 district. Given this, voters in SC-1 have the opportunity to flip the seat back to the GOP column come November 3rd, 2020.

One challenger hoping to get the job done is Nancy Mace, a state representative for South Carolina’s 99th District.

Mace first won a special election in 2017 and was re-elected in 2018 to her current position. She previously ran an unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate in 2014.

The businesswoman and single mother of two is the author of the memoir In the Company of Men: A Woman at The Citadel, which details her time at the military institution. She currently leads the Republican pack in fundraising and has been touted by the NRCC. The primary contest will be held June 9th, 2020, barring no interruptions due to the coronavirus.

Mace spoke to The Resurgent about her campaign. Here’s what she had to say about her campaign:

Introduce yourself to our readers.

My name is Nancy Mace. I am a native of Goose Creek, SC. I come from a military family and was the first female graduate of The Citadel, which is the military college of South Carolina. Too often people who run for office want to be someone but not do anything. I am a state lawmaker who has consistently delivered results for the people I represent, and I want to bring that same spirit of public service to Washington. It’s past time to bring it back.

You were the first woman to graduate from The Citadel. How cool! Can you share more about that experience? 

As many did in their adolescence, I struggled. I faced a series of very adverse experiences and personal hardships that had a ripple effect throughout my life growing up. When I dropped out of high school 25 years ago, I was waiting tables at a Waffle House off the side of an interstate in a small town. And while I loved working there, I also found myself in a position where I had to pull myself up by my bootstraps and make a decision to save my own life. The Citadel was where I turned things around. It’s also where I was challenged more than ever before – emotionally, physically, in every way. I owe everything I am to The Citadel; the structure and discipline it provides is a great blessing that forced me to rise to the occasion. 

What propelled you to run in SC-1 against Rep. Cunningham (D-SC)? 

As a state lawmaker, a businesswoman, and a single mom, I spend every second of my days thinking about our bottom line – my family’s bottom line. Too often politicians in Washington get there by promising the world and delivering nothing but politics as usual. Joe Cunningham rode into Congress on a blue wave. I want to serve the people of the Lowcountry just as I’ve served them here in South Carolina. I want to solve problems and actually get stuff done for us – not to join the chorus of partisans who voted to impeach the President. Nobody gets a blank check from me and I certainly won’t follow orders from Nancy Pelosi or anyone else. I have a history of working in the best interest of the Lowcountry. Period.

Cook Political Report lists SC-1 as R+10 and the race is listed as a toss-up. The district was historically in Republican hands but flipped last election cycle. Why are you the best Republican candidate to take on incumbent Democrat Joe Cunningham? 

We need a Republican who will outwork the other guy and I’m that gal. Nobody, and I mean nobody – no matter their party affiliation – works harder than me. I have a record of bringing people together around the issues that matter to us all, like rebuilding our infrastructure, protecting our environment and our shoreline, working through healthcare issues and reforming our criminal justice system. I have a record delivering results regardless of party. In order to get something done, we must focus on what brings us together – not what divides us – because that’s what leaders do.

What are your top issues on the campaign trail? What sets you apart from your Republican primary challengers?

With me, it’s no more politics as usual. You’ll always know where I stand. I am direct, I’m not afraid to communicate my position on an issue, no matter how tough and I work. No one will work harder than I will. 

(See her campaign positions here.)

Would you describe yourself as a conservative Republican? Which movement figures inspire your philosophical thinking? Who greatly inspired you to get proactive in conservative/Republican politics? What makes you inclined to the Republican Party?

I come from the perspective that it is the job of government to protect our freedoms – not to limit them. Lowcountry families know that in order to thrive, government needs to get out of the way. There is no better example than the current crisis we face with COVID-19. Here in the Lowcountry we’re facing shortages and have needs brought on by over-regulation. This is why 80 percent of our active ingredients are made in China; and why it costs more to create goods here in the United States, the regulatory burden set on businesses at the federal, state and local level has been choking innovation and business here at home for decades. I believe in the free market and competition which is why throughout my life I’ve always identified more with the fiscal conservative cause.

Which notable organization and political figures have endorsed your campaign? 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Elise Stefanik (E-PAC), Club for Growth, VIEWPAC, and Sen. Rand Paul to name a few. 

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) recently tweeted that a historic number of Republican women, well over 180, are running for Congress in 2020. There are currently 13 GOP women in the chamber, compared to Democrat women currently serving. Why is it important to see more GOP women elected, especially those who are principled conservatives like yourself?

Democrats do not have a monopoly on women – and I mean this as it relates to voters and politicians. But unfortunately, we as republican women find ourselves behind in number in the U.S. Congress. This has gotta change. I’m often asked how to get involved and have your voice heard. I started by raising my hand. Too often we, as women, ask ourselves, why me? Instead, I’ve chosen to ask, well, Why not?

What issues are currently overlooked that you hope to draw more attention to if you’re elected to Congress?

Reducing regulatory burdens – though not the sexiest of policy areas – is a matter of policy that can mean life or death. Just as we see now, the rolling back of regulatory burdens can allow more professionals to enter into the industries of their choosing, permanently or not, to achieve success, to learn, to support others, and to thrive. In Congress, I’d also like to shine a light on reckless spending. As a single mother, my team (me and my two kids, aged 10 and 13), we count every dollar and we schedule, and we plan around how to make it work. The forecasting in Washington is off… Washington D.C.’s solution always ends with how to gouge more out of taxpayers. It’s time we tilt the power of the purse back toward the people.

Anything else you’d like our readers to know about your race and candidacy?

South Carolina has never elected a Republican woman to Congress. It’s been 100 years since women were given the right to vote. I want to see the 1st Congressional District make history in November. It’s time to give women from South Carolina a voice in Congress. It’s also time to unite behind the Republican with the best chance to take on one of Pelosi’s favorites in Joe Cunningham. I’ve raised $1 million for my run in the primary. I am not messing around. I am working extremely hard. It would be the honor of my lifetime to represent the Lowcountry. And I am humbled to be in the arena to take on this challenge. 

Learn more about Mace’s candidacy on her website. You can follow her campaign on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


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