Congressman Slapped with Censure from State GOP for Voting to Impeach Trump


South Carolina Republicans on Saturday issued a formal censure to U.S. Rep. Tom Rice over his vote in support of the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump.

Rice was among 10 GOP representatives who joined Democrats on Jan. 13 in voting to impeach Trump in the aftermath of the riot a week earlier at the U.S. Capitol. A Senate trial is expected in February.

A day after his vote, Rice — who represents South Carolina’s 7th District, which voted heavily for Trump — told The Associated Press “it hurts my heart” to have gone against the president, but he decided to back impeachment after seeing what he characterized as Trump’s inaction during the Capitol incursion.

State party censures aren’t common in South Carolina. The GOP in 2009 issued one to then-Gov. Mark Sanford after he left the state for five days to visit a lover in Argentina.

Some warn the censure could have electoral consequences for Rice, who has represented the 7th District since its creation in 2012.

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Long a reliable backer of Trump’s policies, Rice campaigned with the president and, according to FiveThirtyEight, voted 94 percent of the time in favor of Trump-backed legislation — the highest percentage among South Carolina’s current delegation.

In his only primary since first elected in 2012, Rice won with 84 percent of the vote. He’s been reelected each time with at least 56 percent of votes cast.

Now, Rice is all but sure to face at least a handful of primary challengers.

Rice told the AP he knew he’d likely face a difficult primary and that the impeachment vote could potentially cost him his seat: “If it does, it does,” he said.

Dreama Perdue, the Republican chairwoman in Rice’s home county of Horry, said she’s fielded hundreds of phone calls from residents displeased with the congressman’s vote.

“The people in the district are just very, very upset that Congressman Rice would do this, knowing how much we support the president in South Carolina, and in the 7th District, and in Horry County,” Dreama Perdue told the AP.

“He told me he voted his conscience. These people did not vote for you to vote your conscience; these people voted for you to support us and our district and the president.”

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