Representative Tom Rice, a hard conservative who tried to oust former President Donald J. Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, was beaten Tuesday by a Trump-endorsed presidential candidate, becoming the first of the 10 House Republicans who supported impeachment to face a primary challenge and lose.
Mr. Rice’s defeat to State Representative Russell Fry means half of the ten Republicans who voted to impeach him will not be returning to Congress next year, and the number is expected to rise. In addition to Mr. Rice, four other House Republicans have chosen to resign rather than confront the Republican electorate’s pro-Trump base.
Tom Rice’s Impeachment Followed By Another
Mr. Fry’s pitch in the conservative Seventh Congressional District, which spans from the North Carolina border to the Atlantic Ocean, focused on Mr. Rice’s impeachment vote. And Mr. Trump rallied beside Mr. Fry. The congressman was not simply defeated; he was annihilated. Fry appears to have beaten Rice by much more than 26 points after nearly all of the ballots have been counted. In reality, Fry looks to have defeated the incumbent by a 2-to-1 margin.
With such a humiliating setback, one might suppose Rice had committed some heinous act, rendering him scandal-plagued and therefore unable to compete properly. And, from Trump’s perspective, that is exactly what happened: Rice’s vote in favor of impeachment constituted his heinous crime.
Tom Rice’s dedication to defending his own record was one of the factors that set him apart. The South Carolina Republican faced swift backlash after voting for Trump’s impeachment in the immediate aftermath of the Jan. 6 assault, and he had plenty of opportunities to show sorrow and walk it all back.
Tom Rice, on the other hand, did the exact opposite. He was the only owner of his vote. He portrayed himself as a committed conservative who acted in accordance with his conscience and firmly held views on the rule of law and the Constitution. Rice even claimed that voting for impeachment demonstrated his conservatism.