Sanford loses primary to challenger Arrington in 1st congressional district race

2018 Election: What to expect in Nevada, Virginia, Maine, North Dakota and South Carolina - Philly

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Katie Arrington defeated longtime lawmaker Mark Sanford in South Carolina's Republican primary race Tuesday by aligning herself with Trump's takeover of the party.

Trump weighed in himself less than three hours before the polls closed Tuesday.

But Arrington, who works for a defense contractor, has exploited that trait, pointing out Sanford's call for Trump to release his tax returns, his vote against Trump's border wall proposal, and his calling proposed tariffs on alumni and steel "an experiment with stupidity". The President of the United States then called the congressman and former S.C. governor, "MIA and nothing but trouble".

Congressman Mark Sanford is best remembered nationally for a highly public extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina several years ago. He backed Sanford's pro-Trump challenger, state legislator Katie Arrington, for November's congressional elections. She also snidely attacked his past unfaithfulness.

In one ad, Arrington tied the two chief arguments against him - insufficient support for Trump and the scandal - together.

Arrington, who made a campaign issue of Sanford's criticism of Trump, won 50.6 percent of the vote to Sanford's 46.5 percent with nearly all ballots counted.

Trump celebrated Sanford's defeat on Twitter, claiming success in ousting a foe. But they could not forgive him for his criticism of President Donald Trump.

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In the past, Sanford said the president should "just shut up" and "quit responding" to critics and focus on the issues at hand.

The president and his political team have wrestled with just how involved he should get in Republican primaries.

The tweet could also be Trump's way of preparing to take credit if Sanford loses or goes to a run-off. Regardless of his own position vis-a-vis the president, however, Sanford noted that Trump's tweet "may cost me an election in this case but I stand by every one of those decisions to disagree with the president".

Sanford has never lost in eight primaries in SC, including in his return to the U.S. House after the affair marred the end of his second term as governor. Rep. Robert Pittenger was ousted in North Carolina last month.

Trump congratulated Corey Stewart, his onetime Virginia campaign chairman and an immigration hardliner, for winning a GOP primary that will put him against incumbent Democratic Sen.

But Tuesday night, Sanford all but conceded the GOP primary. If he prevails, he's expected to advance to a general election against wealthy Democratic philanthropist Susie Lee.

The second-term House member's district leans Republican, though Democrat Hillary Clinton received more votes there than Trump did in 2016.

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Besides that district, considered key to the House battleground map this fall, Democrats in two other Virginia districts they hope to retake nominated women, including Abigail Spanberger in the 7th District and Elaine Luria in Virginia's 2nd District.

And in Virginia's 10th Congressional District, state Sen.

In North Dakota, Republican Representative Kevin Cramer easily won the nomination to challenge Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp.

The most serious primary challenge to an incumbent member of Nevada's congressional delegation is conservative activist Sharron Angle's bid for Nevada's 2nd Congressional District.

In South Carolina, Archie Parnell won the Democratic primary in the 5th District despite admitting to domestic abuse in the 1970s.

"That's ultimately what the race devolved down to, which was, 'Was I Trump enough vs. not, '" Sanford said.

In Nevada, the parties will choose their nominees in two competitive open seats. Others have told us Trump's tweet was indispensable, driving additional turnout during the final critical afternoon rush.

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There are three candidates, including Sanford, in the Republican primary.

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