Katie Arrington, a Republican legislator who defeated Rep. Mark Sanford in the South Carolina GOP primary earlier this month, was in critical but stable condition Saturday after she was seriously injured in a car accident.
According to a campaign statement, Arrington and a friend, Jacqueline Goff, were driving on Highway 17 when their car was struck by another vehicle traveling in the wrong direction. The accident occurred in Charleston County, S.C., around 9 p.m. Friday.
“Katie sustained a fracture in her back and several broken ribs, as well as injuries that required Katie to undergo major surgery including the removal of a portion of her small intestine and a portion of her colon,” the campaign spokesman said. “Additionally, the main artery in her legs has a partial collapse and will require a stent. Additional surgeries will be required including one likely today; and it is likely that Katie will remain hospitalized for the next two weeks.”
The spokesman said Goff was driving, with Arrington in the passenger seat, and that Goff was also recovering from her injuries. The crash killed the other driver, who was identified as Helen White, 69, by the Charleston County coroner’s office.
A tweet from Arrington’s account Saturday afternoon said she “remains in critical but stable condition, and is scheduled to undergo another major surgical procedure tomorrow morning. She remains humbled, encouraged, and deeply moved by the outpouring of support and prayers being offered from across the country. #PrayForKatie.”
A campaign spokesman said that Arrington was alert and talking Saturday morning, and Republicans offered their support for her as news of the accident circulated.
“Our thoughts and prayers this morning go to Katie Arrington, her family and those involved in last night’s automobile accident,” Sanford wrote in a tweet.
Gov. Henry McMaster said in a tweet: “We are shocked by the news of her accident and urge all South Carolinians to keep her in their prayers. She is a strong, determined woman. We need her, and she will pull through.”
President Trump also reacted, tweeting: “My thoughts and prayers are with Representative Katie Arrington of South Carolina, including all of those involved in last nights car accident, and their families.”
Arrington is expected to remain the GOP’s nominee for the seat in November. According to South Carolina law, in the event that a candidate “dies, becomes disqualified after his nomination, or resigns his candidacy for a legitimate nonpolitical reason,” the party would hold a new, truncated primary.
Early Saturday, Arrington’s Democratic opponent, Joe Cunningham, said that he would suspend active campaigning until the Republican nominee recovered.
“Amanda and I are lifting her and her family up in prayer right now,” said Cunningham, referring to his wife. “Please join us.”
Arrington’s campaign, which added that the candidate was talking after initial surgery, asked for “continued prayers for the deceased and the deceased’s family, as well as prayers for a quick recovery for Katie and her friend.”
On June 12, Arrington defeated Sanford in a primary that turned on the congressman’s frequent criticism of Trump. Democrats said they would seriously compete for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, which stretches from Charleston to the state’s border with Georgia.