Conservative TV host Eric Bolling has ruled out waging a primary challenge to GOP Rep. Nancy Mace in South Carolina.
The former Fox News personality had been considering taking on Mace, who sharply criticized former President Donald Trump following the Jan. 6 siege on the Capitol. The freshman congresswoman is part of a group of House Republicans who Trump allies have accused of being disloyal to the former president.
But Bolling, who has long been close to Trump and interviewed him multiple times during his presidency, said in a Monday statement that was forgoing a run. He attributed the decision to a desire to focus on work projects, and he said the 2017 death of his son, which followed an accidental drug overdose, had weighed on him.
Bolling said that he’d “been absolutely inundated by people here in this district to run for” Mace’s Charleston-based seat.
“While it’s too soon after the passing of my son to get into politics, the overwhelming support I’ve received indicates this is not the end of my opportunities politically, in South Carolina,” he added. “While I am not planning to run for Congress in this cycle, it is clear to me that President Trump remains very strong in this district.”
Mace opposed Trump’s impeachment but hasn’t been shy to vocalize her disagreements with him. She has said that the former president put the lives of her and those at the Capitol on Jan. 6 “at risk” with his actions.
Bolling had also been regarded as a potential primary challenger to Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.), who was one of 10 House Republicans who voted for Trump’s impeachment. The congressman has drawn several Republican opponents, however.
The 58-year-old Bolling has flirted with running for office before. He moved to Charleston several years ago and weighed taking on GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, though he ultimately opted against it.
Bolling left Fox News in 2017 amid allegations that he engaged in sexual misconduct, which he denied. He later joined the conservative Sinclair collection of broadcast TV stations, where he hosted “America This Week” until he departed in January. He has recently been hosting a podcast with pro football hall-of-famer Brett Favre.
Trump has been eager to back primary challenges to the Republican impeachment backers. He has endorsed Max Miller, a former White House aide, who has launched a primary challenge to Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, who voted for impeachment. He has also vowed to campaign against Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who supported Trump’s conviction.