Katie Arrington, whose support from President Donald Trump fueled her defeat of U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford in South Carolina’s Republican primary this month, remained hospitalized Sunday with critical injuries after a deadly car crash Friday night.
The 47-year-old member of the South Carolina House of Representatives was traveling with a friend to Hilton Head for a Saturday morning awards ceremony when their vehicle was struck by a wrong-way driver. That driver was killed, and the friend driving the car in which Arrington was a passenger also was injured.
Arrington suffered broken ribs, a fracture in her back and a collapsed artery in her leg, her campaign said on Twitter. She underwent surgery to remove part of her small intestine and a portion of her colon. She is expected to be hospitalized for at least the next two weeks, her campaign said, adding that she was listed in “critical but stable condition.”
Mike Biundo, one of Arrington’s consultants, told The New York Times on Saturday that the time required for the candidate’s recovery remains uncertain.
“As you can imagine, this is still an ongoing and fluid situation,” he said.
The injuries suffered by Arrington’s friend, Jacqueline Goff, 59, of Mandeville, Louisiana, were also serious, according to The Associated Press.
The Charleston County coroner’s office identified the driver killed in the crash as Helen White, 69, of Ravenel, South Carolina, Reuters reported.
Trump, who tweeted his endorsement of Arrington and criticized Sanford just a few hours before polls closed in the June 12 primary, said on Saturday his “thoughts and prayers” were with her, as well as “all of those involved in last nights car accident, and their families.”
Sanford shared a similar message on Twitter:
Joe Cunningham, Arrington’s Democratic opponent in November’s general election, expressed his concern for her on Twitter, and announced he was suspending campaign activities “until further notice.”
Sanford had been seen as a rising GOP figure in national politics until 2009 when, during his second term as South Carolina’s governor, he acknowledged having an extramarital affair. He served out his term under a cloud until early 2011, but then won a special election to the House in 2013.
A staunch conservative, he easily won re-election in 2014 and 2016. But he incurred Trump’s wrath ― and spurred Arrington’s primary challenge ― by questioning and criticizing the president’s style and personality. Trump, in his tweet on the day of the primary, said Sandford had been “nothing but trouble” for him.