‘We Are the Party of Donald J. Trump,’ Republican Proclaims After Upset Win Over ‘Never Trumper’ Mark Sanford

Katie Arrington defeated longtime lawmaker Mark Sanford in South Carolina’s Republican primary race Tuesday by aligning herself with Trump's takeover of the party.

In her victory speech, the GOP nominee to represent the state's 1st District said that "We are the party of Donald J. Trump…and now, Congresswoman Katie Arrington," according to The Post and Courier. Her statement rings true for several primary races happening this year where Republican candidates either declare their undivided support to the president or risk losing elections.

Arrington, a businesswoman with ties to the military, was considered an underdog when she initially launched her first race for Congress last year. But she soon found a groove in criticizing her opponent Sanford on his leniency in upholding policies of President Trump.

“Mark Sanford has become the problem in Washington,” Arrington said in her campaign video. She also spent a majority of her campaign calling Sanford a “Never Trumper” when he didn’t loyally support the president’s policies or style.

Hours before the polls closed on Tuesday Trump gave a shout out to Arrington, tweeting that “Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina. I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love. She is tough on crime and will continue our fight to lower taxes. VOTE Katie!”

Later that night, the Associated Press called the race, declaring Arrington the winner by a 51-47 percent margin.

Sanford hadn’t lost an election in the eight races he has been a part of since he began serving in Congress in 1994. The Republican also served two terms as the governor of South Carolina.

If the primaries were any indication of what is to be expected in the general election in November, the message is clear: Republican voters want candidates who support Trump. Last night avid Trump loyalist Corey Stewart won the GOP’s nomination for an open Senate seat in Virginia. Stewart also received praise from Trump on Twitter Wednesday morning.

Michigan Republican Justin Amash responded to Trump’s endorsement of Arrington last night on Twitter, stating that Sanford is “one of the most principled, consistent, and conservative members of Congress I’ve ever known. And unlike you, Mark has shown humility in his role and a desire to be a better man than he was the day before.”

Newsweek reached out to both Mark Sanford and Katie Arrington's campaign team for comment but has not received a response. 

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