As Tom Rice attempts to justify his vote to impeach former President Donald Trump while also attempting to tout his strong conservative credentials, he and his campaign advisors are still searching for a message that may convince voters to nominate him for a sixth term as the Republican candidate for the SC 7th Congressional District.
If they fail to find a consistent message soon, Rice is ‘toast’ as far as reelection is concerned.
Earlier this month, Rice led off his campaign trying to defend his vote to impeach former President Donald Trump. The message was that Rice is a strong, conservative ‘defender of the Constitution’ who loves all of Trump’s policies but not Trump himself. He claimed Trump “ripped the constitution to shreds” and is a “very divisive man.”
Rice chose to ignore the fact that Trump continues to be the leader of the Republican Party and most influential with the vast majority of Congressional Republicans in Washington.
Last week, former county council chairman Mark Lazarus, who was ousted from his elective office in 2018 because he lost touch with county employees and the voters of Horry County, made a video touting Rice’s experience in Washington as the reason Rice needs to be reelected.
Lazarus, who suffered probably the biggest upset loss in Horry County political history, seemed an odd choice as a kickoff endorsement for the Rice campaign. But, maybe it isn’t a surprising choice because Rice has lost touch with his constituents just as Lazarus did in 2018 and Rice’s campaign consultant Walter Whetsell has obviously lost touch with any messaging for Rice.
There is rumor that Lazarus will take another run at the county council chairmanship in 2022. Maybe Lazarus thinks supporting Rice will gain him votes if he does decide to run, but that only shows how out of touch Lazarus remains with voters in Horry County. Remember, this is ‘Trump Country.’
Lazarus specifically pointed to Rice’s membership on the House Ways and Means Committee, because of the importance of that committee in the legislative drafting process, as a position important to 7th Congressional District citizens.
However, Rice became a pariah in the House Republican caucus when he voted to impeach Trump. To an extent, committee assignments depend on seniority and past service on committees with the party leadership making the assignments. But, changes to committee assignments can be made and it’s hard to see Rice getting anything he wants out of the current House leadership.
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