COLUMBIA (AP) — U.S. Rep. Tom Rice said that while some voters may disagree with his vote to impeach Donald Trump this year, he hopes it will not be enough to overshadow his achievements for South Carolina’s 7th District.
” “I know I did the right things, I’m happy where I am, so I’ll take the consequences,” Rice said to The Associated Press this week ahead of his official campaign launch for a sixth-term.
” Even though some people didn’t like my vote I believe they will appreciate my honesty, my effectiveness, and that I can win them over. But .”
On Monday Rice will present his argument to all eight counties in the 7th District. This district stretches across South Carolina’s northeastern corner. It is home to a variety of commercial, industrial, and agricultural areas. Myrtle Beach is the heart of the state’s multibillion dollar tourism industry. This base also provides a strong base for some of South Carolina’s most conservative voters.
The framework of Rice’s tough reelect was forged in January, when he was one of 10 House Republicans who joined Democrats in voting to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 violence at the U.S. Capitol. The Senate trial resulted in Trump not being convicted.
The vote was surprising, since the Myrtle Beach congressman was a consistent supporter for the former president. He represents an area that voted heavily in Trump’s presidential election. Long a reliable backer of Trump, who campaigned with him, Rice voted 94% of the time in favor of Trump-backed legislation, according to FiveThirtyEight — the highest percentage among South Carolina’s delegation at that time.
A day after his vote, Rice said to AP that it hurt his heart “ having voted against Trump, but he decided in favor of impeachment after seeing what he called Trump’s inaction during riot.
Since then, Republicans in his district and across the state have declared their displeasure with Rice, who has represented the 7th since its creation in 2012. The South Carolina GOP formally censured him to show disapproval over his vote, a step also taken by party committees across the country to punish many of the 10 House Republicans who supported Trump’s impeachment.
According to federal election filings, twelve Republicans are seeking out to challenge Rice during next summer’s GOP primaries. Rice has raised more than $1.3million, leading the pack in fundraising. Another hopeful, veteran Graham Allen, has raised more than $750,000, Rice’s closest competitor in the money race.
Last weekend saw Republicans gather at two separate events in Myrtle Beach. One was headlined by prominent Trump surrogates Silk and Diamond, and the other by Kimberly Klacik, a former GOP congressional candidate. The state party hosted a simultaneous gathering that featured prominent GOP stars like U.S. Senator Tim Scott.
Rice stated that he did not attend either, nor was he invited.
“If Republicans run on their ideas and not on the allegiance of one man, I believe we have the winning message,” Rice stated about his hopes for Republicans moving forward. “And if not, I believe we’re destined for failure.” … I hope we haven’t moved away from a party of ideas to a party of one man.”
Running on his record, Rice said he hopes voters will think of the district’s falling unemployment rates during his tenure, and its rising job numbers.
” My focus is on jobs, American competitiveness, he stated. “I’m proud of what I did. … People can see and believe the result But Rice stated that he still believes it will come down to the impeachment vote and possibly nothing else. He noted that while the topic has been brought up in many of his town halls over the past year, he felt more voters than had criticised him for taking a stand against Trump.
“For people say that I’m not conservative, because I voted for Donald Trump to be impeached, in fact that was an conservative vote,” Rice stated. “The conservative wants to preserve our freedom and our rights that are guaranteed under the Constitution.”
On Friday, Rice told the AP that his argument to voters boiled down to hoping that they didn’t put stock in the sole critique he said he’s heard from his challengers. He stated that the only criticism he has received about Rice and his performance is that he voted to impeach Donald Trump. “And if that’s all they’ve got, that doesn’t seem like much — one vote, in 10 years.”
Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.