After Defying Trump, GOP Rep. Tom Rice Loses Reelection In South Carolina

The congressman was one of 10 House GOP members who voted in favor of impeaching Trump after the U.S. Capitol riot.
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Rep. Tom Rice (S.C.), one of just 10 House Republicans who voted in favor of impeaching Donald Trump in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, lost his bid for reelection Tuesday.

Rice lost the GOP nomination to state Rep. Russell Fry in a campaign seemingly dominated by the shadow of Trump, who held a March 12 rally for Fry in Florence, South Carolina.

A poll in May by the Trafalgar Group had put Rice well behind, at 25% to Fry’s 42%. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The primary field was crowded, but the attention mainly centered on Rice and Fry, who played up his endorsement from the former president.

“It’s like I said earlier, on June 14 it’s our turn to vote and on June 14 here in the 7th Congressional District, we’re going to vote to impeach Tom Rice at the ballot box,” Fry said at the March rally while standing next to Trump.

Trump took particular pleasure in campaigning against Republican House members who had voted for his impeachment, pointing out Rice by name in an interview with The Washington Post

“You had people drop out of races that they had no intention of dropping out of, and the other ones are losing, like Rice in South Carolina,” Trump said.

Though Rice voted to impeach Trump, he also voted to support a challenge to certifying some Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, 2021, a vote he later said he regretted.

“In the wee hours of that disgraceful night, while waiting for the Capitol of our great country to be secured, I knew I should vote to certify,” Rice said in December. “But because I had made a public announcement of my intent to object, I did not want to go back on my word. So, yeah, I regret my vote to object.”

After the Trump rally in March, Rice called the former president a “would-be tyrant” and said he only wanted “a ‘yes man’ candidate” in Fry.

Still, Rice recently signaled he was open to a rapprochement with Trump, telling ABC News earlier this month that he could still consider voting for Trump in the future if Trump apologized for his actions on Jan. 6.

“If he came out and said, ‘I’m sorry that I made a huge mistake on Jan. 6,’ then I might consider it,” Rice said.

Rice’s loss will open up a slot on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, the House’s tax-writing panel.

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