Trump congratulates Sanford challenger for win

Trump congratulates Sanford challenger for win

Trump congratulates Sanford challenger for win

U.S. Representative Mark Sanford, a vocal critic of President Donald Trump, lost a Republican congressional primary in SC on Tuesday, after Trump urged voters to punish Sanford's disloyalty by tossing him from office.

The New York Times reports that Sanford "all but concedes" in a speech in Charleston tonight, telling supporters, "Based on the numbers I see, I think I'll end up losing this election".

With 99 percent of the state's precincts reporting, state Rep. Katie Arrington had 50.5 percent with 32,441 votes to Sanford's 46.5 percent with 29,899 votes.

Sanford was not the only sitting member to receive the Trump Twitter treatment as the head of the Republican Party - clearly on a high from his historic meeting with the North Korean leader - returned to the White House.

Today, three hours before the polls closed, President Trump came out against Sanford, calling him "nothing but trouble".

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said "I support Mark Sanford" before heading into an immigration meeting with House Republican leadership on Capitol Hill Tuesday afternoon.

That was a reference to Sanford's surprise disappearance from the state as governor, which he later revealed was to continue his affair with an Argentine woman.

Sanford survived that public confession to the affair to win two more terms to the U.S. House.

Sanford was defeated by state Rep. Katie Arrington, who spent her campaign blasting Sanford a "Never Trumper".

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After he winning back his old US House seat, he nurtured an independent streak, rapidly tiring of Trump's brash leadership style and reportedly branding the president's imposition of steel and aluminium tariffs "an experiment with stupidity".

In a statement, Mike Biundo, a consultant for Arrington's campaign and a veteran Republican operative, said: "The president's endorsement is very important".

In a sharply worded tweet at 4:12 p.m., Trump noted that Sanford "has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA". In Virginia, Democrats nominated women in six of the seven U.S. House districts now in Republican hands, including four that will figure prominently in this fall's broader battle for control of the House.

"They don't want the tweet that I got last night", Sanford said.

He said he does not regret being critical of Trump.

As voters went to the polls Tuesday, Trump took the extraordinary step of tweeting with advice to defeat an incumbent congressman from his own party.

Mark Sanford lost the Republican nomination for his congressional seat to an opponent who attacked his criticism of President Donald Trump. The Cramer-Heitkamp matchup could potentially be a tight race, but in a state that Trump won by more than 30 percent in 2016, Heitkamp will likely lean on her moderate record and support for certain Trump policies.

Sanford's marriage ended but his political career didn't. Smith won the Democratic nomination on Tuesday after leading the pack in fundraising, endorsements and name recognition. On the Republican side, Tarkanian (who is now running for the House instead of the Senate) will face off against state Sen. Dean Heller, possibly the most vulnerable Republican in the Senate, and Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen.

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