How allegiance with President Trump influenced Arrington/Sanford primary election

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Katie Arrington beat Rep. Mark Sanford for the Republican nomination for the District One Congressional seat.

Sanford is currently serving in that role, after serving as South Carolina’s governor. He took some heat from President Donald Trump for not fully endorsing all his positions.

Both Katie Arrington and Mark Sanford attribute the results of Tuesday night’s primary election to their own relationships with President Trump. Political science experts at the College of Charleston agree.

Dr. Karyn Amira, Assistant Professor of Political Science, says, “It is impossible to quantify that impact in the immediate aftermath of the election. I wish I could put a number to it.”

Amira studies Political Psychology, specifically the role identity plays in political behavior and attitudes. She says each voter’s identity includes a variety of factors like race, socio-economic status, and partisanship.

Amira says, “When she (Arrington) embraces Donald Trump, she’s sort of bundling together some of these other identities that people in the mass public in South Carolina have been feeling in a way that Mark Sanford isn’t doing, because he’s not embracing Donald Trump. In fact, he’s attacked him. And when he attacks him, it may feel like a personal insult to the people who hold these identities.”

News 2 asked about the tweet from President Trump, sent only a few hours before the polls closed. He endorsed Arrington and called Sanford “very unhelpful to me in my campaign”.

Amira says, “Trump’s endorsement did not come in for her until very late in the game, but she embraced him earlier than that. I think people paying attention probably noticed it had an impact and it probably helped her.”

She says it’s likely other conservative leaders are watching these results and seeing the voters prefer a candidate who aligns with the president.

Amira says, “I do think it will send out something of a signal, especially to politicians in red states that voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump in 2016.”

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