FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW)– The South Carolina Seventh Congressional District is up for grabs in 2022, and candidates are already launching their campaigns.
Incumbent Rep. Tom Rice kicked off his reelection campaign Monday with stops in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee. One of those was at the Hotel Florence, where Rice spoke to the Florence Rotary Club.
More than 10 candidates, most of them Republicans, have come forward to challenge Rice for his seat in Congress.
“When he voted with Pelosi and the democrats, he voted with the communists against the American people and against his own district,” Barbara Arthur, a Republican candidate for the seat, said.
One criticism Rice faces from Arthur and several of his other opponents is his vote to impeach former President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington D.C.
Arthur calls that vote was a betrayal.
“That was a terrible thing, he didn’t have to do that,” Arthur said. “President Trump was on his way out. [Rice] did not represent the people he is supposed to represent.”
Rice defended the impeachment vote during his speech to the Rotary Club.
“You can’t rip our constitution to shreds and sit there and watch the capitol police get beat up for four hours, and not try to stop it and expect me to support you,” Rice said.
Rice said he believes the criticism is the result of his opponents having little else to take issue with.
“That one vote is the only bone they have to pick with me,” Rice said. “I’ve got a very conservative voting record, I supported Donald Trump in his election and I voted with him 94% of the time.”
He plans to focus on the improvements he has helped make across the district.
“Everyone who supports me recognizes how effective we have been, how much we have done for our district,” Rice said. “How much our district has changed in the nine years I have been in Congress. Is it all me? No, but we had a part in all of it.”
As of the end of September, Rice leads the candidates in fundraising with more than $1.1 million raised, according to the Federal Election Commission. He’s followed by Republican Allen Graham, with just under $740,000.