Conservative activist Graham Allen drops out of Myrtle Beach congressional race

Photo courtesy of Graham Allen's Facebook page.
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The conservative activist and media personality Graham Allen announced Friday evening that he would drop out of the South Carolina congressional race against Rep. Tom Rice, making him the first of Rice’s challengers to bow out.

In a statement sent out Friday evening, Allen said he initially joined the race last May so that Rice would face a “strong challenger” who supported former President Donald Trump. He said he is leaving the race because stronger candidates have emerged.

“Other conservative candidates have emerged, including at least one with deep ties to the region who is strong enough to beat Tom Rice,” Allen said in the statement, though he didn’t name any particular candidate.

Allen said he would ultimately support the candidate that Trump endorses, and said he believes such an endorsement could be made soon.

“President Trump has already endorsed against (Rep.) Liz Cheney (R-WY) and most of the other impeachment RINOs,” Allen said. “And he will endorse against Tom Rice soon enough. When he does, we must be united.”

In a statement shortly after Allen’s announcement, Trump called Allen a “warrior for America First.”

“Graham Allen is a warrior for America First and has always answered the call to serve our Nation,” Trump wrote. “Thank you, Graham, for your support of the MAGA ticket in 2022. Graham has a great future ahead of him!”

Allen, despite leading the pack of Rice challengers in fundraising, faced an uphill battle in South Carolina’s 7th congressional district, which stretches from Georgetown County to the North Carolina state line, and West to include Chesterfield County. Allen, when he announced his candidacy, lived in Anderson and had never previously lived in the Grand Strand area, which caused local conservatives to question his candidacy.

“By law, Graham Allen can run but I feel like candidates that have lived here know the people (and) know the district,” Verd Odom, the chairman of the Marlboro County Republican Party, told The Sun News in August. “I would say that the vast majority of people who live in the 7th district would want a candidate who’s lived here their whole life.”

Others took issue with language he used in videos posted online. Local political bloggers largely dismissed his candidacy.

Still, Allen said repeatedly that he planned to move to Horry County. Horry County property records show that he purchased land and a home in early last year, though it’s not clear when he formally moved in as the home was constructed in 2021. A spokesperson for Allen’s campaign did not immediately return a request for comment on the matter.

In his statement, Allen said his commitment to Trump drove him to move his family across the state and challenge Rice. He also said he “never needed” to be in Congress but wanted to run to support Trump. Allen currently works as conservative personality for Turning Point USA, a conservative organization that produces media and works to spread conservative politics on college campuses. He also runs a conservative clothing website.

“I committed to moving my family and providing voters with a strong alternative because we believed defeating Tom Rice was necessary,” Allen said. “Given my ability to be a national voice for President Trump and his America First policies, I never needed this job - and many argued that I was making a bigger impact by amplifying MAGA candidates across the country - but I couldn’t let Tom Rice run unopposed.”

Allen entered the SC-7 with a splash, announcing his challenge to Rice on Fox News. He quickly proceeded to raise significant funds for the campaign, ultimately pulling in $738,000. Federal campaign finance reports show he was left with $304,000 on hand at the time of the last fundraising deadline in October.

Those fundraising totals put Allen well ahead of other challengers in the race.

Allen also scored endorsements from high-profile conservatives including Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens, two of his Turning Point USA colleagues as well as Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL).

In November, Greene and Gaetz planned to speak at a rally in Myrtle Beach in support of Allen, though the rally was ultimately canceled.

In his statement, Allen said he would return to his job as a “national advocate” for Trump, and would continue running his clothing website. He also hinted that he may run again for public office in the future.

“I am honored by the support we’ve received from the diverse communities across SC-07 and by the many new friends we’ve made over the last eight months,” he said. “It is clear that our message resonates with voters. And in the future, we may consider asking for their vote once again.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a statement from Donald Trump.

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