Nancy Mace Being Challenged By Former Staffer

Republican Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina is facing an unexpected challenge from a familiar face as the state’s primary elections approach.

Dan Hanlon, Mace’s former Chief of Staff in Washington, is throwing his hat into the ring for the Republican primary for her seat. This news was first reported by Politico, and sources close to the situation say that Hanlon has been making moves to garner support and funding for his campaign.

One source familiar with the race said, “The feedback Hanlon has received is overwhelmingly positive, both among the donor class and grassroots voters, and people across the district are asking for any way they can get involved to defeat Mace, citing her chaotic style and unwillingness to make difficult decisions, such as whether to endorse Donald Trump or Nikki Haley.” This statement highlights a growing dissatisfaction with Mace among both her constituents and her former staffers.

The relationship between Mace and Hanlon soured in December after Mace voted to take the speaker’s gavel from Rep. Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy, who has since resigned from Congress, has shown a willingness to seek retribution against the eight Republicans who voted with all Democrats to remove him. He has specifically singled out Mace as someone who does not deserve to keep her seat.

In a recent interview with CNN, McCarthy said, “If you’ve watched her, just her philosophy, and the flip-flopping, I don’t believe she wins reelection.” While he did not mention Hanlon by name, McCarthy did allude to a conversation he had with someone from Mace’s team that contradicted her stated reason for voting against him. “Her chief of staff said, ‘You have kept your word 100 percent,'” McCarthy said, suggesting that Mace may have been dishonest about his promises to her.

McCarthy’s comment about Hanlon, “He likes Dan very much and wants nothing more than to end Nancy,” paints a picture of a race that will be highly contentious and personal. Hanlon himself has not shied away from criticizing Mace, saying, “It’s time for Mace to put aside her personal grudges and focus on the people of South Carolina.” This jab suggests that there is some underlying tension between the two.

Mace has already faced significant staff turnover during her time in Congress, with former staffers publicly criticizing her office’s dysfunction and self-promotion. Some former staffers have even gone as far as speaking with left-leaning media outlets to attack Mace and her operation. Hanlon would undoubtedly possess valuable insider knowledge about Mace and her leadership style that could prove damaging in a primary election.

Before his time with Mace, Hanlon spent four years working in the Trump administration. This experience could prove beneficial as he campaigns for the Republican nomination, as many in the party still hold Trump in high regard. It’s possible that Hanlon could harness this admiration and use it to his advantage in his bid to unseat Mace.

With the deadline to qualify for the race quickly approaching, Hanlon will have to move quickly to solidify support and funding for his campaign. The primary for South Carolina’s first congressional district is scheduled for June 2022, giving him a little over a year to make his case to voters.

It remains to be seen how this unexpected challenge from an insider like Hanlon will impact Mace’s chances of reelection, but it is sure to be an interesting race to watch.

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