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Democratic candidate for the S.C. 1st Congressional District, Dr. Annie Andrews, left, makes her remarks to an enthusiastic crowd Tuesday afternoon. Dr. Andrews is trying to unseat incumbent Republican Nancy Mace. Bob Sofaly/The Island News

HOUSE CALL

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Andrews differentiates herself from Mace in race for House seat

By Tony Kukulich

When Democrat Annie Andrews visited St. Helena Island on Tuesday, Sept. 20, to talk about her race for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, her appearance coincided with the release of her first TV commercial.

Drawing on her experiences as a pediatrician, Andrews put the issue of gun violence at the center of that TV spot.

“I have cared for far too many children who have been shot,” she told supporters gathered at the Gullah Farmers Cooperative on Tuesday. “I don’t have the luxury of looking away.”

Andrews is a professor of Pediatrics at MUSC in Charleston and has been a pediatrician there since 2009. She is married and a mother to three young children.

“I think that Dr. Andrews, as a practicing pediatrician, cares a lot about our children,” said Kathleen Hughes, chair of the Beaufort County Democratic Party. “A lot of the issues that affect the Lowcountry start at that age, and she sees them very clearly in her position as a pediatrician – from education to things like gun safety and healthcare. We have a lot of issues that need solving, not only for adults, but starting in early development. I really think that she really has a holistic view of those and can bring that to Congress.”

While Andrews said she knew she wanted to be a doctor and a mother as far back as kindergarten, she never imagined “in a million years” that she’d be running for political office. Her children have been a motivation for her decision to run.

“The number one reason why I am running is so that my children can see that I was brave in this moment and that I stood up to meet this moment, because we are in an incredibly urgent moment in our nation’s history,” Andrews said. “I want my kids to be proud of what I did to fight for them today.”

During her appearance at the Gullah Farmers Cooperative, Andrews said her platform addressed four major issues: restoring reproductive rights for women, reducing gun violence, addressing climate change and protecting the nation’s democracy.

The impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling this year that gutted the protections afforded by Roe v. Wade has the potential to differentiate this election from any other in recent history.

“This election is going to be about four things, but I think that every day we get closer, it’s more and more about one thing,” Andrews said. “It’s about restoring women’s reproductive freedom.”

A key to her election will be ensuring that voters understand the difference between her position and Mace’s on reproductive rights, Andrews said. She asserted that Mace has scrubbed her website of references to her “extreme anti-abortion” position.

“She sees the same polling that I see, and she knows that her position is not inline with the majority of voters in the district,” Andrews said. “People need to understand her position because she does have a way of saying things that don’t align with her voting record to get votes.”

A political newcomer, Andrews did not face a candidate in the June primary. She believes she has an opportunity to defeat Mace and turn the district blue, noting that the last two election cycles have been won on very narrow margins. Democrat Joe Cunningham, who is currently running for governor, pulled off a surprise victory in 2018. He subsequently lost the seat to Mace in 2020 by less than 6,000 votes of the approximately 427,000 votes cast. Andrews said voter turnout will be a significant determining factor in the outcome of the election, and she needs to improve her name recognition among voters to increase her chance for victory.

Democratic candidate for the S.C. 1st First Congressional District, Dr. Annie Andrews, left, makes her remarks to an enthusiastic crowd Tuesday afternoon. Dr. Andrews is trying to unseat incumbent Republican Nancy Mace. Bob Sofaly/The Island News

“I honestly believe that if people know who I am and what I stand for, and they understand what Nancy’s voting record is, the choice will be very clear and we will win,” Andrews explained. “If they don’t know who I am or they’re not clear on (Mace’s) voting record, then I don’t know what will happen.”

A debate between Andrews and Mace has been scheduled for Oct. 19, Andrews announced. The full details are not yet available, but the event will likely not be open to the public, but it is expected to be broadcast in the local area.

“The stakes of our election could not be higher. Every day I think the stakes get higher and higher and higher. I am deeply concerned about the future of this country as a mom and as a doctor who spends my day caring for sick children.”

Tony Kukulich is a recent transplant to the Lowcountry. A native of Wilmington, Del., he comes to The Island News from the San Francisco Bay Area where he spent seven years as a reporter and photographer for several publications. He can be reached at tony.theislandnews@gmail.com.

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