Nancy Mace survived Kevin McCarthy’s ‘revenge tour’. But now she has to deal with Trump

South Carolina Rep Nancy Mace greets supporters at a Trump rally in February 2024 (Getty Images)
South Carolina Rep Nancy Mace greets supporters at a Trump rally in February 2024 (Getty Images)

South Carolina Rep Nancy Mace is once again the victory of a Republican primary election against an opponent backed by a prominent foe.

The congresswoman won the Republican primary in South Carolina’s 1st congressional district over challengers Catherine Templeton and William Young; as votes came in, Mace pulled to an early lead and was declared the victor early on Tuesday evening.

Her victory comes after former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy targeted her as one of the eight Republicans responsible for kicking him out of the speaker’s chair last fall.

Mace’s defection, along with seven others, laid the groundwork for McCarthy’s downfall and eventual ouster from Congress less than a year after he took the job. The act was the first time a speaker has been removed in modern history.

McCarthy backed Templeton in her efforts to unseat the congresswoman but Mace managed to secure the dual endorsements of Donald Trump, de facto leader of the GOP, and Mike Johnson, McCarthy’s replacement as speaker of the House. As a result, her win in the Republican primary was anything but a surprise.

What was arguably more surprising was Mace’s ability to maintain those relationships, given her occasional troublemaking for the Republican caucus in the House, as well as the fact that she was forced to run against Trump’s endorsed candidate, Katie Arrington, in the first district in 2022.

Since then, she has repaired her ties with Trumpworld, a prospect made easier by the fact that she declined to criticize the ex-president even after he backed her opponent.

In an interview with NBC News, Mace made clear that she didn’t see McCarthy’s support for her opponent as based in any real policy differences.

“It’s about revenge,” she said. “It’s also about honesty and integrity. And my vote to oust Kevin McCarthy was about trust.”

McCarthy, for his part, has denied being on a “revenge tour” but has made clear his opposition to the eight Republicans who voted to oust him.

Matt Gaetz, long viewed as the ringleader of the group, has faced the brunt of McCarthy’s anger — the former speaker has repeatedly insisted in interviews that the Florida congresswoman had sexual intercourse with underage girls, which Gaetz firmly denies. The Justice Department declined to bring charges against the congressman after investigating the matter.

In the case of Mace, McCarthy unleashed a scathing barrage against his one-time colleague in February when speaking with a gaggle of reporters.

“I hope Nancy gets the help she needs, I really do,” he said earlier this year while visiting Capitol Hill. “I just hope she gets the help to straighten out her life. I mean, she’s got a lot of challenges.”

“No one will stay working for her,” he continued. “You can’t have somebody who just flips and flops based upon what TV station she gets put on. You want someone who’s willing to work, and so I hope she gets that kind of help.”