Nancy Mace stays close to Trump ahead of tough primary fight

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CHARLESTON, S.C. — Three years ago, Rep. Nancy Mace criticized Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol and called on her party to “start over.”

Now, she’s backing Trump — and angling for the former president’s support ahead of her next primary race in June.

It’s been a long journey for the second-term House member, who has cast herself as an outsider willing to take on her own party. Her allies describe her as a maverick; her detractors say she lacks political principles. Mace does often find herself in conflicts with party leaders, from Trump in the last election cycle, when he endorsed a primary opponent after her Jan. 6 criticism, to former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy this time, after Mace helped oust him from the speakership in 2023.

And while Trump’s presidential primary contest with former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is the main event right now, Mace is preparing for her next intraparty fight, with South Carolina Republicans keeping a close eye on the contest.