Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC), who was one of just ten House Republicans to vote in favor of impeaching Donald Trump following the attack on the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, lost his reelection attempt on Tuesday.
Rice lost the GOP primary to state Rep. Russell Fry in a campaign that seemed to be dominated by Trump‘s shadow, who spoke at a rally for Fry in Florence, South Carolina on March 12.
Rice was polled in May by the Trafalgar Group and came in second with 25% of the vote against Fry’s 42%. The poll has a plus or minus 4% margin of error.
The primary field was large, but the focus was primarily on Rice and Fry, who emphasized the former president’s support.
“As I said before, it’s our chance to vote on June 14, and here in the 7th Congressional District, on June 14, we’re going to vote to impeach Tom Rice at the ballot box,” Fry said at the March event, standing next to Trump.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Trump took great delight in campaigning against Republican House members who voted for his impeachment, naming Rice by name.
“You had people drop out of races that they had no intention of pulling out of, and the other ones are losing,” Trump added, referring to Rice’s loss in South Carolina.
Rice voted to impeach Trump, but he also voted to support a challenge to the Electoral College’s certification of some ballots on Jan. 6, 2021, a vote he subsequently stated he regretted.
“I knew I should vote to certify in the wee hours of that awful night while waiting for our wonderful country’s Capitol to be secured,” Rice stated in December. “However, I did not want to go back on my word because I had made a public declaration of my intention to oppose.” So, yeah, I’m sorry for objecting.”
Rice labeled Trump a “would-be despot” and that he only wanted “a ‘yes man’ candidate” in Fry after the March rally.
Rice recently indicated that he was open to a reconciliation with Trump, telling ABC News earlier this month that if Trump apologized for his comments on Jan. 6, he would consider voting for him again.
“I might consider it if he came out and said, ‘I’m sorry that I made a major mistake on Jan. 6,'” Rice added.
Rice’s defeat will free up a seat on the House Ways and Means Committee, which writes tax legislation.