South Carolina Republican Russell Fry largely credits his resounding victory last week to the endorsement he received in the early stages of his campaign from former President Donald Trump.
“Obviously, the Trump endorsement is huge for any Republican. I mean, he is— a lot of credit is there, and I think that helped us get to where we were,” Fry told host Matthew Boyle during an appearance on Breitbart News Saturday.
Fry won his primary last Tuesday in South Carolina’s Seventh District against five-term incumbent Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC), who was one of the ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over the U.S. Capitol riot last year.
Trump announced his endorsement of Fry back in February, saying at the time, “Congressman Rice of South Carolina, the coward who abandoned his constituents by caving to Nancy Pelosi and the Radical Left, and who actually voted against me on Impeachment Hoax #2, must be thrown out of office ASAP—and we have just the man to do it!”
Just south of the Seventh District, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) won her primary despite Trump endorsing her opponent. Mace had previously been harshly critical of Trump for his outspoken positions on the 2020 election and blamed Trump for the Capitol riot, but Mace stopped short of voting in favor of impeachment. Mace also shared a video on social media of herself outside Trump Tower in New York after Trump endorsed her opponent, praising America First policies and reminding her followers she had worked for Trump’s campaign in 2016.
Fry noted, “A Trump endorsement is huge because it either helps cause a candidate to be in the upper tier and win or it forces every single other candidate in that race who might win to be a Trump-style candidate, a Trump, America First policy candidate … so he very much has his stamp all over the Republican Party right now.”
Trump is popular in the Seventh District, having won it by nearly 20 points in both 2016 and 2020, according to a Cook Political Report analysis.
Fry’s victory, in which he defied expectations by receiving more than double the votes of Rice and winning the primary outright, served as an unequivocal rebuke of Rice’s vote against Trump.
“At the end of the day, people are smart, and we saw this in this last election,” Fry said. “People are smart, they understand what’s going on, and they are ready for change in November.”
In the leadup to the primary race, House Democrats’ most publicized hearings yet this Congress — on the Capitol riot and Trump’s alleged role in inciting it — took place while Rice, concurrently, was down in the Palmetto State doubling and tripling down on his impeachment vote as he campaigned for reelection.
The hearings were almost universally condemned by Republicans as a waste of time, and Fry told Breitbart News the feedback he heard on the ground in Rice’s district matched that sentiment and that Rice had “lost touch” with those voters.
“I was asked, I think by CNN, about the committee hearings that are going on on Capitol Hill right now and … what I was hearing about them on the ground. I said, ‘Honestly, I’m not hearing anything about it,’” Fry said.
He added, “I’m hearing about inflation. I’m hearing about interest rates. I’m hearing about a recession looming. I’m hearing about all these things, and the last thing on anyone’s mind is the theatrics that are going on on Capitol Hill.”
Write to Ashley Oliver at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.
Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.