In addition, Trump slammed Sanford on Twitter on Tuesday just hours before the election ended, and seemingly jabbed Sanford for his infamous 2009 scandal as Governor of SC, when he was caught having an extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina.
Sanford, a frequent critic of Trump who lost his primary this week to pro-Trump challenger Katie Arrington, suggested there's a simple, unspoken principle in Congress that enables his party's hands-off approach toward Trump: "What you do as an elected official is ... an old-time senator told me years ago, the name of the game is staying in the game", Sanford said.
With almost 94 percent of precincts reporting, Arrington's vote count was at 50.7 percent.
In South Carolina, Republican Gov. Henry McMaster - an early and vocal supporter of Trump who replaced former Gov. Nikki Haley - fell short of 50% and is headed to a June 26 runoff with the second-place finisher, businessman John Warren. In Virginia, Republicans went with a candidate who was so over-the-top Trumpy that he wound up being fired from the president's campaign.
State and national Republicans admitted there's virtually no chance Stewart will defeat Democratic Sen. Jennifer Wexton as their nominee in a northern Virginia congressional district key to the party's hopes of gaining control of the U.S. House.
A bellwether Virginia congressional district promises to be among the most watched races nationally Tuesday as five states hold primaries.
Mark Sanford survived the fallout from his "hike" on the Appalachian Trail, but he couldn't survive the backlash to his past criticisms of President Trump. "The playing field of ideas that many of us came into in the class of '94.it's devolved to: are you for or against the President, are you for or against Trump?"
But Trump says Rep. Katie Arrington "was such a good candidate, and Sanford was so bad, I had to give it a shot". Heitkamp has enjoyed a rapport with the president since he took office.
Trump had weighed in on the contest via Twitter the previous day while on his way back from Singapore.
That was a reference to Sanford's surprise disappearance from the state as governor, which he later revealed was to continue his affair with an Argentine woman. Based on the election results in 2016, the analysis predicted Sanford to vote with Trump 87% the time, when in fact he only voted with Trump 73% of time (very low compared to the rest of his colleagues, who voted with Trump over 90% of the time). "He is MIA and nothing but trouble", Trump wrote. "He is better off in Argentina".
Even with the cloud of multiple investigations hanging over Trump, his family, former associates, and his campaign, the president's ability to act and speak with near-impunity on matters of personal grievance and matters of policy has frustrated lawmakers in both major parties.
In conceding the race, Sanford said he was comfortable with the positions he took on Trump.
There's too high of a political price to pay for Republicans to stand up to Trump, according to Sanford. "But it tells us we need to bring a little more civility in how we actually do that". Trump won the district in 2016 by a margin of 53% to 40%.
"So she won 'cause it's just about gender?"
Eventually, vote counters will narrow it down to two candidates, and whoever has the most votes wins. A member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, Brat, then a college professor, upended the political career of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2014's GOP primary.
Arrington will face Democrat Joe Cunningham in November.
The two primaries were sleepy Tuesday, but will be among the nation's most important battlegrounds in November.
In Nevada, Democrats are set to nominate Rep. Jacky Rosen to take on Republican Sen.
As expected, North Dakota Republicans chose Rep. Kevin Cramer to challenge Democratic Sen.
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