Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

What South Carolina’s vote says about a new Southern political narrative  


 

The primary last night in South Carolina showed us both the limits and the extent of the Donald Trump effect in a GOP electorate that somewhat resembles Georgia’s conservative bloc.

On one hand, Gov. Henry McMaster failed to avoid a Republican runoff against an outsider challenger, despite boasting a late endorsement from the president and a record of loyalty to him.

McMaster, who was the state’s lieutenant governor in 2016, was the nation's first statewide elected official to back Trump ahead of South Carolina's presidential primary.

He will face businessman John Warren in a June 26 match-up.

On the other, U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford’s winning streak ended when he was ousted by a first-term state legislator. The president sent an Election Day message via Twitter with a strikingly personal dig at Sanford, writing that he is “better off in Argentina.”

The winner, Katie Arrington, had focused her campaign on Sanford’s criticism of Trump’s rhetoric. She charged that his less-than-total loyalty “offended” the president and deprived residents of the Charleston-based district a stake in key decisions.

In his first-ever concession speech -- Sanford had never before lost a South Carolina election -- he said he didn’t regret his stands.

"It may have cost me an election in this case,” he said, “but I stand by every one of those decisions to disagree with the president.”

Arrington, meanwhile, had a decidedly different take. At her victory speech, she unequivocally declared: “We are the party of President Donald J. Trump."

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You can see the Southern narrative that’s building. 

On Tuesday, Republicans in Virginia named Corey Stewart, the loud conservative who has made a name championing Confederate symbolism, their candidate in the U.S. Senate Race. Stewart, a Prince William county official, will face Democratic incumbent Tim Kaine. President Donald Trump approves of the development.

In Georgia, we have Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee for governor, who has called for the removal of the bas relief carving of Jeff Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson from the face of Stone Mountain.

Come September, exploration of the contrast is all but guaranteed. 

Insider’s note: This item was ripped and expanded from the Jolt.

 


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