Mace celebrates projected U.S. House race victory

At Wednesday morning news conference: ‘The hard work starts today’

Mace celebrates projected U.S. House race victory
U.S. Rep.-Elect Nancy Mace, declared the winner of the U.S. First Congressional District Race by the Associated Press, thanked supporters and voters for her victory and said saving Parris Island would be her first job. (Source: Live 5)

LADSON, S.C. (WCSC) - State Rep. Nancy Mace, the projected winner of the First District Congressional Race in South Carolina, thanked voters and supporters Wednesday morning.

Mace, according to projections from the Associated Press, defeated Rep. Joe Cunningham.

“I always put the Lowcountry first, so for those folks that are out there today that maybe weren’t with us yesterday, I’m asking for a chance to prove to you that I will be a compassionate leader, a good listener, an independent thinker,” Mace said during a news conference outside the Ladson Waffle House, where she worked her first job.

The AP declared Mace the victor in the race early Wednesday morning. As of 10 a.m., election results show Mace with 51% of the vote over Cunningham’s 49%. That’s with 95% of precincts reporting.

Cunningham’s campaign released a statement saying that every vote must be counted before he would cede the race.

“There are tens of thousands of ballots outstanding across the district,” a statement released by Cunningham Campaign Manager Allie Watters states. “Both candidates have agreed that every ballot must be counted and every voice heard before an election result is called.”

Mace said she was “disappointed” by the Cunningham campaign statement. She also said she had not spoken with Cunningham or his campaign.

“We are working to count every valid ballot and that is not finished,” Charleston County Democratic Party Chairman Colleen Condon said Wednesday afternoon. “We have teams observing the counting in Dorchester and elsewhere.”

“The voters have spoken," she said, adding that when the final votes are counted, which she said would likely be later on Wednesday, she believes she will have an even larger victory. “But my job starts right now. I want to unite the Lowcountry and rebuild the Lowcountry and South Carolina and our nation.”

She said her first job is to start work to save Parris Island in Beaufort County.

Military.com reported last month that entry-level training at Parris Island is “a long way off” from meeting a Congressional order to have military bases support gender-integrated training. Because of that, the report stated, the military would consider opening a new base where men and women could train together in a new location rather than spending money on construction projects at the Marine Corps' two training camps in South Carolina and San Diego, California.

Mace’s victory in the House race came after campaign officials said she knocked on more than 1,000 doors this week in a final push for votes. Over the weekend, she toured the Lowcountry with U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who won reelection against former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison.

Cunningham pulled one of the biggest upsets in 2018 when he became the first Democrat to flip a U.S. House seat from Republicans in South Carolina since 1986. National Republicans started targeting his seat just days after his election in the hopes of regaining a majority in the House.

The candidates spent a combined $10 million.

Copyright 2020 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.