CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Republican U.S. Representative Nancy Mace and Democratic challenger Dr. Annie Andrews will meet face-to-face Wednesday night on News 2 in the race’s only scheduled debate.
With just three weeks to go until the election, each candidate is working to convince voters that she is the right woman for the job.
Moderators will ask a series of questions on topics that matter most to voters in the 1st Congressional District including economic outlooks, how lawmakers should approach abortion legislation, and healthcare in South Carolina, among others.
The candidates will have one minute to respond to each question and then will be asked a follow-up question on the topic. The candidates will go back and forth answering questions and debating with one another before making a final pitch to voters in the form of closing statements at the end of the hour.
For months leading up to the debate, Mace and Andrews have traded jabs on the campaign trail and on social media, setting the stage for what could be a contentious debate.
An analysis of each candidate’s Twitter profile* reveals that among Mace’s key terms are ‘Keep the First’ (a nod to her campaign slogan), ‘Biden,’ ‘Lowcountry,’ and ‘inflation.’ For Andrews, key terms include ‘Nancy Mace,’ ‘kids,’ ‘SC01’ and ‘gun.’
The terms often used by Mace and Andrews on social platforms echo the issues and topics that have come to dominate the race.
Andrews has largely centered her campaign around gun control, a problem she says she has seen first-hand working as a pediatrician at MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital in Charleston. She has criticized the freshman incumbent for receiving an A rating from the National Rifle Association and touted her endorsement from gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.
Mace, on the other hand, has centered her campaign around issues like the Biden Administration’s response to inflation and the impact of rising costs on Lowcountry families.
As expected, abortion has taken center stage in this match-up between two women.
Mace supported the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade but has denounced state bans that do not include exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother. She has warned against extremist rhetoric on both sides and argued that lawmakers must work to find common ground.
Andrews, a pro-abortion candidate, has said that Mace is an “extremist”, highlighting that Mace voted for the state’s six-week abortion ban while in the South Carolina House of Representatives. It is worth noting that the law does include exceptions in some cases and that Mace’s campaign insists she has “never sponsored let alone voted for an abortion bill that did not include exceptions.”
But, perhaps the most heated exchanges between the two on social media have come regarding claims made by Mace that her opponent supports “gender-affirming therapy and surgery on young kids” which Mace calls “child abuse.”
Andrews in turn called the attacks “vicious and disgusting,” clarifying that she does not support such procedures and announcing that she would take an immediate unpaid leave from her job to “protect” herself and her family.
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*Editor’s Note: Analysis of the Twitter handles @RepNancyMace and @AnnieAndrewsMD.