A US Republican congressman and Donald Trump critic who survived a sex scandal lost his re-election bid Tuesday hours after the president launched a scorching personal attack against the lawmaker from his own party.
Mark Sanford, who earned national ridicule in 2012 after claiming he was "hiking the Appalachian Trail" when he was really spending time with his Argentine mistress, only to resurrect his political career with a second stint in Congress, crashed to defeat in South Carolina against a far-right challenger endorsed by Trump.
With 98 percent of the vote in the party primary counted, US media called the race for state representative Katie Arrington, who led Sanford by 50.5 percent to 46.5 percent.
It was the 58-year-old's first election loss. He entered Congress in the 1990s before winning the governorship, when he was nearly felled by the sex scandal.
After he winning back his old US House seat, he nurtured an independent streak, rapidly tiring of Trump's brash leadership style and reportedly branding the president's imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs "an experiment with stupidity."
In an 11th-hour primary day intervention, Trump struck back on Twitter, calling Sanford "nothing but trouble" and "very unhelpful" for advancing the Trump agenda.
Then he delivered a scathing rebuke of Sanford's personal life, writing: "He is better off in Argentina."