S.C. Lawmaker Mounts Challenge to Rep. Tom Rice, Says Trump Impeachment Vote Broke 'Trust'

State Representative Russell Fry of South Carolina is mounting a primary challenge against U.S. Representative Tom Rice, saying the Republican's vote to impeach former President Donald Trump broke his constituents' trust, the Associated Press reported.

"He campaigned with President Trump and worked with President Trump and was always willing to use President Trump's name for his reelection purposes, but he broke that trust," Fry told the AP on Thursday.

Rice had consistently supported Trump until voting to impeach him in January. The congressman told the AP that "it hurts my heart" to have voted against the president.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Russell Fry Challenges Tom Rice in Primaries
State Representative Russell Fry of South Carolina says he will challenge U.S. Representative Tom Rice in a Republican primary. Above, Rice speaks with constituents during a town hall meeting on August 23, 2017, in Society Hill, South Carolina. Sean Rayford/Getty Images

"I think the people of the Grand Strand and the Pee Dee deserve someone they can trust again, and I think I'm that person," Fry said.

Rice was among 10 GOP representatives who joined Democrats on January 13 in voting to impeach Trump for his role in the violence a week earlier at the U.S. Capitol. Trump was not convicted during a subsequent Senate trial.

Rice told the AP he decided to back impeachment after seeing what he characterized as Trump's inaction during the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6.

Since then, Republicans in his district and across the state have declared their displeasure with Rice, who has represented the district since its creation in 2012. The South Carolina GOP formally censured him to show disapproval over his vote, a step also taken by other party committees across the country to punish many of the 10 House Republicans who supported Trump's impeachment.

The symbolic expression was seen as a possible bellwether of a tough 2022 primary for Rice, long a reliable backer of Trump's policies who campaigned with the president and, according to FiveThirtyEight, voted 94 percent of the time in favor of Trump-backed legislation—the highest percentage among South Carolina's current delegation.

Had he been in Congress at the time, Fry said that he would have opposed the impeachment vote, which he said came too quickly for a proper case to be made.

"At the very least, you have to build a case, and I think that the speed at which the House of Representatives brought impeachment charges and impeached President Trump really left devoid any factual record," he told the AP.

Fry, 36, has been in the state House since winning a special election in 2015. Planning to formally kick off his campaign August 5 in Myrtle Beach, Fry told the AP that his legislative record opposing abortion and supporting pro-gun legislation makes him the right choice to represent the 7th District.

About a dozen Republicans have formally announced they will challenge Rice or expressed interest in doing so. Earlier this year, Rice told the AP he knew he'd likely face a difficult primary and that the impeachment vote could potentially cost him his seat.

"If it does, it does," he said.

Russell Fry Challenges Tom Rice
State Representative Russell Fry questions South Carolina Senior Assistant Deputy Attorney General Don Zelenka during an April 21 hearing in Columbia, South Carolina. Jeffrey Collins/Associated Press