Sanford has said in several interviews in recent months that the tenor of his town halls and other campaign events in his coastal 1st District had shifted, with voters using expletives and saying if Trump can say anything he wants, they can, too. Former Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Wis., expressed outrage at Sanford's loss, noting that the SC congressman "supported POTUS with his votes" on issues from taxes to healthcare to government spending.
Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, the only Republican seeking re-election in a state that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016, and Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen sailed through their primaries, and already have begun focusing their criticism on each other in what is expected to be among the most competitive Senate races this year.
Trump, who issued his tweet as he returned from his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said Sanford "is better off in Argentina".
"He [Sanford] has no clue what true Republicans in the first congressional district want done", Arrington said. "We will see if he can flip US Senate races in red states this fall". "It's really, really sad". Her unexpected victory now makes Arrington the poster child for the pro-Trump wing of the Republican Party's 2018 takeover.
While Trump has been a national embarrassment and garnered historically-low approval ratings for an early-term President, he's still beloved by the GOP base.
Democratic State Sen. Jennifer Wexton was the clear victor in a six-way primary in a northern Virginia district considered key to the House battleground map this fall, and will challenge Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock. Gowdy, who is retiring, positions himself as an outsider but when it matters always sides with the establishment in Washington on matters ranging from immigration to investigations.
The startling defeat for the three-term congressman and former governor demonstrates the grip Trump has on GOP voters, and comes one week after Representative Martha Roby, an Alabama Republican who also had criticized Trump, was forced into a runoff. Trump won the district in 2016 by a margin of 53% to 40%. Nikki Haley as the United Nations Ambassador, elevating McMaster to governor of SC. Mark Sanford was defeated hours after President Trump endorsed Sanford's opponent, while Virginia chose Corey Stewart, a vocal proponent of keeping Confederate monuments, as the GOP Senate nominee. In his remarks Tuesday night, he said: "I stand by every one of those decisions to disagree with the president".
He said Tuesday he planned to wage a "vicious" campaign against Kaine.
Sanford would be the second incumbent House Republican to lose a primary this year. In a highly unusual move for a president, he had tweeted an endorsement of Arrington on Tuesday afternoon when polls were still open in SC.
"It's not like people live in fear of the White House", offered Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., a veteran GOP strategist.
"So she won 'cause it's just about gender?" In Indiana, Trump backer and outsider businessman Mike Braun won the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate back in May. Sanford lost his primary Tuesday night. In July 2016, shortly after wrapping up the Republican nomination and hoping to unify the party before the convention, Trump paid a high profile visit to congressional Republicans on Capitol Hill. Bob Corker (R-TN) made the day before about the "cult-like situation" that President Trump's Republican Party has become.