South Carolina Republican congressional candidate Katie Arrington was seriously injured in a fatal head on collision Friday night. She and a friend, who also survived, were driving to an event where Arrington was set to get an award in Hilton Head when the car they were traveling in was struck by a wrong way driver who was killed.
“As we all know, Katie Arrington is an extremely strong woman and has tremendous faith and an incredibly supportive family,” family or staff posted on her Twitter account early Saturday.
The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office said Arrington and friend, Jacquelin Goff, were transported to the Medical University of South Carolina.
Arrington sustained serious injuries including a back and rib fractures. She underwent surgery that required partial removal of her small intestine and a potion of her colon. Her Twitter feed has been continuously updated with details on her condition. The latest is she also suffered a partial venial collapse in her legs. She is scheduled for additional surgeries and may be hospitalized for weeks.
Arrington defeated Rep. Mark Sanford in the Republican primary for the District 1 seat on June 12.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Arrington, a Businessperson & Married Mother of Two, Was Elected to the SC Legislature in 2017
Now 47, Arrington attended Canisius College in New York at age 31 but did not earn a degree. She created a business called Breakfast Club of America, later sold it and then went into real estate, it’s been reported.
She was elected to the SC state legislature in 2017. She’s a married mother of two, one child, a daughter is in the military, she says on her campaign website. She also started a defense contracting company which she touts in her campaign bio.
She is a “woman of faith” who “strongly supports pro-life values and will unapologetically protect the sanctity of life,” her website says.
“If you want someone ready, willing and able to serve us – and not himself, vote Katie Arrington. She will be a Congressman we can all be proud of, as she is and always will be a strong voice for our families and our freedoms.”
2. Arrington Defeated Republican Member of Congress & Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford in the State’s GOP Primary
Arrington may have been able to pull out the win in part because she pointed out Sanford’s criticism of Pres. Donald J. Trump in interviews. Arrington said she’d “work with President Trump, not against him.”
After her win, she said the GOP is the “party of Trump,” and it is the “year of Trump” and the “year of women.”
Sanford was targeted by Trump before and after the primary. In fact, justhours before the polls closed on June 12, Trump attacked Sanford and endorsed Arrington in a tweet.
“Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA. He is MIA and nothing but trouble,” Trump tweeted.
Arrington on the other hand was very helpful as she embraced Trump policy and criticized Sanford for not being on board with the President.
Among her claims she posted on social media were, “FACT: Mark Sanford was one of only five Republicans to vote against President Trump’s border wall. Earlier today, Sanford attacked me for telling the truth about his vote against President Trump’s border wall” and she blasted Sanford for not being team Trump: “Career politician Mark Sanford is full of cheap talk. Mark has spent two years attacking President Trump; now Mark wants to claim he supports @realDonaldTrump. Who does he think he’s fooling? I’m a conservative. I support President Trump. And that’s not just talk.”
In Trump’s tweet he said Sanford, “…is better off in Argentina. I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love. She is tough on crime and will continue our fight to lower taxes. VOTE Katie!”
The Argentina reference will be explained in a minute, but the president didn’t let up on Sanford who Trump claimed had publicly criticized him. Earlier this week in a sit-down with House Republicans, a meeting Sanford didn’t make it to due to flight delays, it was reported, Trump asked the assembled if Sanford was there.
Sources told CNN Trump called Sanford, “nasty guy.”
“There were a few moans,” Rep. Mark Walker, R-North Carolina, chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, told CNN about the moment. “Mark’s one of our colleagues, and agree with him or not, he’s an honest man.”
Arrington garnered half the Republican primary vote and won the nomination.
3. Sanford Says, ‘I Lost Because I Wasn’t Trump Enough’
In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Republican Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District said he wasn’t “Trump enough in the age of Trump.”
“They say elections have consequences, and if this is so, we should all be concerned over the recent primary along the coast of South Carolina. I know it well. I lost.”
Sanford, a fiscal conservative, who has been in politics for nearly 25 years was first elected to Congress in 1994 but ran for and won the race for South Carolina governor in 2002. He resigned over an extramarital affair dubbed the ‘Appalachian Trail Scandal’ when he claimed to be hiking while was actually with his Argentinian mistress María Belén Chapur.
The affair ended his marriage to Jenny Sanford and he was on-again, off-again engaged to Belén Chapur. Sanford was elected to Congress in 2012 and was sworn in in 2013, with Belén Chapur by his side.
4. Trump & Arrington Both Used Sanford’s Sex Scandal Against Him
The former South Carolina governor was mocked when he claimed he was hiking the Appalachian Trail when he was in fact in South America with his mistress. He survived the scandal politically, but Arrington, and Trump, seized the opportunity to resurrect the 2009 affair in the June primary race.
“Mark Sanford and the career politicians cheated on us,” Arrington says in an ad, as reported by NBC. “Bless his heart, but it’s time for Mark Sanford to take a hike. For real this time.”
Sanford was among the first to tweet out ‘thoughts and prayers.’
Trump did so a few hours later.
5. Conspiracy Theories Are Being Shared About the Accident Cause as Arrington’s Democratic Opponent Suspends His Campaign
A number of people on Twitter and elsewhere on social media are throwing conspiracy theories out to see what sticks referring to so-called “deep state” possible involvement.
Police are investigating the accident, but it was a driver traveling in the wrong direction on the roadway in the dark that hit the car Arrington was in and that driver was killed.
Democratic opponent Joe Cunningham tweeted at 6 a.m., hours before the news of the crash broke.
Cunningham said his campaign was suspending all activities until further notice.