South Carolina Republican Russell Fry credits his resounding victory in large part last week to the endorsement he received early in his campaign from former President Donald Trump.
“Obviously, Trump’s endorsement is huge for any Republican. I mean, he’s — a lot of credit is there, and I think that helped us get to where we were,” Fry told the 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 ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in the wake of the US Capitol riot last year.
Trump announced his endorsement of Fry in February, saying at the time: “Congressman Rice from South Carolina, the coward who abandoned his constituents by caving in to Nancy Pelosi and the radical left, and who actually voted against me on Impeachment Hoax #2, must be removed from office ASAP – and we have just the man to do it!”
Just south of the Seventh District, Representative Nancy Mace (R-SC) won her primary despite Trump’s support for her opponent. Mace previously harshly criticized Trump for his outspoken stances on the 2020 election and blamed Trump for the Capitol riot, but Mace abstained from voting in favor of impeachment. Mace too share a social media video of herself outside Trump Tower in New York after Trump endorsed her opponent, praising America-first policies and reminding supporters she had worked for the Trump campaign in 2016.
Fry noted, “A Trump endorsement is huge because it either helps ensure that a candidate is in the top tier and wins, or it forces all the other candidates in that race who might win to be a style candidate.” Trump, a Trump, America First political candidate… so he’s got a lot of his stamp all over the Republican Party right now.
Trump is popular in the Seventh District, having won it by nearly 20 points in 2016 and 2020, according to analysis by Cook Political Report.
Fry’s victory, in which he defied expectations by more than doubling Rice’s votes and winning the primary, served as an unequivocal rebuke of Rice’s vote against Trump.
“At the end of the day, people are smart, and we saw that in this last election,” Fry said. “People are smart, they understand what’s going on and they’re ready for change in November.”
Looking ahead to the primary race, the most high-profile hearings from House Democrats in this Congress — on the Capitol riot and Trump’s alleged role in inciting it — took place while Rice, simultaneously, was in the running. Palmetto State doubling and tripling on his impeachment vote as he campaigned for re-election.
The hearings were almost universally condemned by Republicans as a waste of time, and Fry told Breitbart News that comments he heard on the ground in Rice’s district matched that sentiment and that Rice had “lost the contact” with these voters.
“I was asked, I think by CNN, about the committee hearings that are going on right now on Capitol Hill and … what I’m hearing about them on the ground. I said, “Honestly, I don’t hear anything about it,” Fry said.
He added: “I hear about inflation. I hear about interest rates. I hear of an impending recession. I hear about all these things, and the last thing that comes to mind is the theater happening on Capitol Hill.
Write to Ashley Oliver at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.