Pri­mary shows San­ford per­ils of pulling against Trump

Women can­di­dates con­tinue win­ning streak

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS - El­iza Collins

WASH­ING­TON – For Mark San­ford, it looks a lot like Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s party.

The sit­ting Repub­li­can rep­re­sen­ta­tive lost his South Carolina pri­mary race to state Rep. Katie Ar­ring­ton, who cam­paigned as a Trump ally, after the pres­i­dent made a last-minute en­dorse­ment of Ar­ring­ton.

San­ford has been crit­i­cal of the pres­i­dent, and GOP pri­mary vot­ers handed him his first elec­toral de­feat.

Some folks who were not feel­ing the sting of de­feat? Women, par­tic­u­larly Demo­cratic women, who won pri­mary elec­tions across the coun­try.

Among the re­sults of Tues­day’s pri­maries in South Carolina, Maine, Vir­ginia and Ne­vada:

Trump’s in charge

Three hours be­fore the polls were sup­posed to close in South Carolina, Trump in­serted him­self into a tight race be­tween San­ford and Ar­ring­ton. Trump said he en­dorsed Ar­ring­ton over his party’s in­cum­bent law­maker be­cause San­ford was “very un­help­ful” and “noth­ing but trou­ble.”

It was the first elec­tion loss for a politi­cian who is no stranger to con­tro­versy. San­ford’s political ca­reer was dam­aged in 2009 over an af­fair, but he won his House seat a few years later.

Ar­ring­ton ran as a Trump ally while highlighting San­ford’s crit­i­cism of the pres­i­dent.

Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., was forced into a runoff last week. She came un­der fierce fire in her GOP pri­mary for with­draw­ing her en­dorse­ment of Trump in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial race after the “Ac­cess Hol­ly­wood” tape re­vealed Trump’s boasts about grab­bing women by the gen­i­tals.

Roby’s op­po­nent, Bobby Bright, a one­time Demo­cratic con­gress­man, ran ads ac­cus­ing Roby of turn­ing “her back on Pres­i­dent Trump when he needed her the most.”

On the flip side, sup­port from the pres­i­dent was not enough to keep South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster from a runoff after he failed to se­cure more than 50 per­cent of the vote, though he did lead by a sig­nif­i­cant mar­gin. McMaster, an early en­dorser of the pres­i­dent’s, got Trump’s bless­ing via Twit­ter.

Women Democrats keep win­ning

In al­most every race in which a wo­man ran in Vir­ginia she won. Demo­cratic women won their pri­maries in Vir­ginia’s 7th and 10th Con­gres­sional Dis­tricts. Both dis­tricts are held by Repub­li­cans but are on Democrats’ radar for the fall, the 10th be­ing one of their top tar­gets. For­mer CIA of­fi­cer Abi­gail Span­berger won Democrats’ nom­i­na­tion for Vir- ginia’s 7th District, and state Sen. Jen­nifer Wex­ton beat a crowded field for the


Repub­li­can Shion Fenty, an ad­min­is­tra­tive as­sis­tant, was the rare Vir­ginia wo­man to lose her pri­mary to a man. She lost to evan­gel­i­cal pas­tor Ryan McA­dams for the GOP nom­i­na­tion for Vir­ginia’s 4th Con­gres­sional District.

In Ne­vada, Rep. Jacky Rosen eas­ily se­cured the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion for Se­nate. Susie Lee, an ed­u­ca­tion ad­vo­cate, won her crowded pri­mary for the

3rd Con­gres­sional District by a ma­jor­ity of the vote.

Tues­day’s re­sults weren’t the first ex­am­ple of Demo­cratic women suc­ceed­ing this pri­mary sea­son. From Penn­syl­va­nia to New Mex­ico and Ken­tucky to Ne­braska, fe­male can­di­dates, par­tic­u­larly Democrats, have won their pri­maries.

Dave Wasser­man, editor of the non­par­ti­san Cook Political Re­port, said women were nom­i­nated as the Demo­cratic can­di­date in the gen­eral elec­tion al­most half the time, com­pared with just a sixth on the GOP side.

New vot­ing sys­tems

There’s much to be de­ter­mined about new vot­ing sys­tems. Maine vot­ers tried In­stant Runoff Vot­ing for the first time Tues­day, and at the same time, they voted on whether to keep the sys­tem.

Un­der In­stant Runoff Vot­ing, firstchoice votes are counted, and if no can- di­date gets more than 50 per­cent, the can­di­date with the low­est num­ber of votes is re­moved from the race.

Those who gave that can­di­date their first-choice pick have their votes redi­rected to their sec­ond choice. The process is re­peated un­til a can­di­date has a ma­jor­ity of the vote and is de­clared the win­ner.

Main­ers voted in 2016 to start us­ing the ser­vice. Vot­ers went back to the polls Tues­day to de­ter­mine whether they would keep us­ing it. They re­jected a leg­isla­tive de­lay of ranked-choice vot­ing, mean­ing the sys­tem will be used in fed­eral elec­tions in Novem­ber in the state.

The As­so­ci­ated Press called Maine’s Repub­li­can gu­ber­na­to­rial pri­mary for busi­ness­man Shawn Moody, but the Demo­cratic pri­mary wasn’t called be­cause no can­di­date was close to a ma­jor­ity.

Be­cause no can­di­date could be de­clared the out­right win­ner, more tab­u­la­tions are re­quired next week un­der the state’s ranked-choice vot­ing sys­tem.

Tough year for GOP in­cum­bents

San­ford joins a line of his Repub­li­can House col­leagues who have lost their pri­mary — such as Rep. Robert Pit­tenger — or bid for higher office this cy­cle.

Two House GOP mem­bers in In­di­ana, Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, ran for their party’s nom­i­na­tion for the Se­nate — both lost to wealthy busi­ness­men.

West Vir­ginia Rep. Evan Jenk­ins lost his bid to be the Repub­li­can Se­nate nom­i­nee to the state’s at­tor­ney gen­eral. Rep. Raul Labrador, a Free­dom Cau­cus col­league of San­ford’s, lost his cam­paign to be the GOP nom­i­nee for Idaho gov­er­nor.

There have been a cou­ple of bright spots for GOP in­cum­bents: Rep. Lou Bar­letta, R-Pa., a Trump ally, will take on Demo­cratic Sen. Bob Casey in Novem­ber, and Rep. Kristi Noem won her party’s nom­i­na­tion for South Dakota gov­er­nor.


State Rep. Katie Ar­ring­ton hugs sup­port­ers after she de­feated Rep. Mark San­ford, R-S.C.


Abi­gail Span­berger will face in­cum­bent Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., in Novem­ber.

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