RELEASE: Old Foes Lead in New Poll Among Republicans Looking to Take Back 1st Congressional District

COLUMBIA, SC – The election may have just ended, but it isn’t stopping Republican speculation about who will face Democrat congressman-elect Joe Cunningham in 2020. But before Cunningham knows who his 2020 general election opponent will be, Republicans must duke it out among themselves first.

That race could feature a rematch of the June 2018 GOP Primary, according to new polling data released by South Carolina-based Ivory Tusk Consulting and Florida-based Political Marketing International.

“As expected, Mark Sanford and Katie Arrington lead the 2020 pack,” said Ivory Tusk Consulting president R.J. May III. “Sanford has been in and out of public office for 25 years and Arrington’s name ID remains extremely high after her failed bid for Congress.”

Of 2,291 people surveyed, all with a history of voting in Republican primaries and likely to vote in the 2020 GOP primary, 32% said they would support Arrington again. Another 26% backed Sanford. Beaufort County State Senator Tom Davis drew 9% support. State Representative Nancy Mace (7%), State Senator Larry Grooms (4%), State Representative Weston Newton (3%), former gubernatorial candidate Catherine Templeton (3%), and Beaufort County Treasurer Maria Walls (1%) were also included in the survey. Finally, 15% of respondents were either unsure of who they would vote for or preferred a candidate not included.

The Ivory Tusk Consulting/Political Marketing International survey also asked Republican voters about political ideology, whether or not Joe Cunningham deserved a chance to govern, and the most important quality of any potential GOP-nominee in 2020.

An overwhelming 71% indicated they considered themselves very conservative or somewhat conservative. Only 20% considered themselves moderates.

“Perhaps the most interesting question we asked was whether or not Joe Cunningham deserved a chance to serve or if Republicans should find a candidate to run against Cunningham as soon as possible,” said Jerry Dorchuck, president of Political Marketing International. “Surprisingly, 42% of likely GOP primary voters said Cunningham deserves a chance.”

According to the poll, President Trump remains exceedingly popular among the GOP electorate. “41% of respondents said the most important quality of a Republican nominee for Congress is his or her support of President Trump,” said May. “If President Trump’s approval rating remains sky-high among GOPers, it will be tough for any Never-Trumper to breakthrough.”

“It appears Republicans in the 1st Congressional District are sticking with who they know, for now,” Dorchuck added. “But a lot can happen in 18 months.”


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