Pro-Trump Katie Arrington Takes on Rep. Mark Sanford, ‘The Jeff Flake of Congress,’ in SC GOP Primary

Katie Arrington running for GOP primary in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District
Katie Arrington/Facebook

Pro-Trump agenda State Rep. Katie Arrington, who is taking on incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) in the June 12 GOP primary in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, called her opponent, “the Jeff Flake of Congress” in an interview with host Matt Boyle, Washington political editor of Breitbart News, on Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Saturday.

“I’m running against a man who is a Never Trumper. He is the Jeff Flake of Congress,” Arrington told Boyle and co-host Amanda House, Washington deputy political editor of Breitbart News.

“I would be the KellyAnne Conway of the Congress,” Arrington added.

“When President Trump says build the wall, you do exactly what that says. You find the money to build the wall. You don’t drag your feet, like this current session [of Congress] has done, ” the four-term state legislator from South Carolina said.

“We need to support what the American population voted him into office to do, and that’s to support President Trump’s bold, conservative agenda,” Arrington continued.

You can hear the full interview here:

Sanford was first elected to Congress in 1994. In 2002, he was elected Governor of South Carolina. Though he completed two four-year terms as governor, his second term was scandalized after a bizarre 2009 incident in which he claimed to be hiking the Appalachian Trail but was instead visiting his mistress in Argentina.

In January 2010, the South Carolina House of Representatives voted by a 102-11 margin to censure Sanford for bringing “dishonor, disgrace, and shame not only upon [himself] but upon this State and its citizens.”

Sanford was elected once again to Congress in a 2013 special election when he received 54 percent of the vote, narrowly defeating Elizabeth Colbert Busch, sister of late night CBS talk show host Stephen Colbert. He has served in Congress since then.

Politico captured the ongoing soap opera of Sanford’s personal life in a 2015 article:

When Rep. Mark Sanford posted a rambling, 2,000-word announcement of his breakup with María Belén Chapur on his Facebook page last September, we thought we’d seen the last of the nutty antics of those two lovebirds—but hold onto your hats because it appears the couple is giving their union one more go.

Chapur was spotted hanging out with Sanford and members of his staff at last week’s annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park. Seated near the first base line, a casually dressed Sanford, who generously passed out cans of beer to those around him, was accompanied by Chapur, looking tanned in a sleeveless black top. It was the striking Argentinian brunette’s 2009 affair with the then-married governor of South Carolina that gave whole new meaning to the term “hiking the Appalachian Trail.”

Since the election of 2016, Sanford “has been critical of both the rhetoric and policies of President Donald Trump (R),” Ballotpedia reported, adding:

Sanford called himself a “dead man walking” in February 2017, referring to a public affair in 2009 that narrowed his political future. “If you’ve already been dead, you don’t fear it as much. I’ve been dead politically,” he continued.

State Rep. Katie Arrington (R) is one of two challengers to Sanford’s re-election bid. She released an ad in February 2018 tacitly referring to Sanford’s relationship with Trump, saying, “[T]oo many Washington politicians only want to attack our president. I am not a politician; I am a mother and small business owner. And I am running for Congress to help pass President Trump’s bold, conservative agenda.”

Sanford spoke of Arrington’s challenge, saying “The campaign season is the time to create contrasts, whether they are real or imagined, and in this instance you got a Republican challenger who says I don’t vote with Trump enough, and I have a Democratic challenger who says I vote with him too often,” he said. Sanford’s district backed Trump by 13 points in the 2016 presidential election.

Arrington raised more than he did in the fourth quarter of 2017: $154,000 to Sanford’s $140,000.

Like Sen. Jeff Flake, Sanford publicly opposed President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13679, signed in January 2017, which imposed a temporary travel ban on residents of seven countries considered hotbeds of terrorism.

“I’m hearing a voice of concern that things are moving from weird to reckless in their view. And that even if you’re going to enact this policy, the way in which it was done just seems bizarre,” Sanford said at the time, according to the Washington Post.

Sanford is one of several Republicans refusing to endorse President Trump’s re-election in 2020.

Arrington was unsparing in her criticism of Sanford’s personal behavior and his anti-Trump rhetoric and voting record.

“He is a hot mess. Emotionally, socially. He broke up with his girlfriend on the news,” Arrington said of Sanford.

“He is not supporting the president. We in South Carolina are,” she added.

Arrington pledged on the show that, if elected, she would become a member of the House Freedom Caucus, of which Sanford is currently a member.

She noted that, unlike Sanford, she would be a member of the House Freedom Caucus who supports the Trump agenda.


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