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First Female Grad of The Citadel Running Against S.C. Dem

Nancy Mace Pledges To Push Back Against Socialism, Put America First

• June 26, 2019 11:25 am

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Nancy Mace, the first woman to graduate from The Citadel, South Carolina's military college, announced her candidacy for South Carolina's First Congressional District, a prominent target for national Republicans in 2020.

She will run as a Republican, and aims to face off against incumbent Joe Cunningham, a centrist Democrat who flipped the seat for the first time in decades in 2018.

Mace became the first woman to graduate from The Citadel's Corps of Cadets in 1999.

Mace's announcement video pledges that she will be an ally for President Trump and emphasized that her candidacy is a rejection of socialism.

"I want to stop rebuilding the world and start rebuilding America," she says in the announcement video. "I want to get government off our backs and protect our constitutional rights. And I want to build the wall because supporting America first means securing America first."

Cunningham pulled off a surprise upset in 2018, besting Republican candidate Katie Arrington by fewer than 4,000 votes and flipping the historically Republican district. Arrington had successfully defeated incumbent Mark Sanford in the Republican primary before losing the seat to Cunningham, marking the first time in decades a Democrat had won the seat. The race is currently considered a toss-up in 2020.

Cunningham's time in Congress has been defined by his centrism, as he joined the Blue Dog Democrats in the House of Representatives soon after he took office. He declined to support Nancy Pelosi's bid for the speakership due to his desire for a leader closer to the political middle.

Cunningham's campaign released a statement in response to Mace's campaign announcement blasting her as a "professional political operative" and a partisan mudslinger.