Conservative TV talk show host Eric Bolling is in preliminary discussions about waging a congressional campaign in his adopted home state of South Carolina, according to multiple people familiar with the talks.
People briefed on the discussions say it isn’t immediately clear where Bolling would run, but that he could potentially wage a primary against GOP Rep. Tom Rice, who voted for then-President Donald Trump’s impeachment, or another Republican representative, Nancy Mace.
Bolling declined to comment, other than to say: “I absolutely love living in South Carolina and taking time to listen to voters (and viewers), and what I hear is total frustration with President Biden’s aggressive progressive agenda. South Carolina is conservative, and South Carolinians deserve conservative representation in D.C.”
Rice has emerged as a top target of the former president ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, along with the other nine House Republicans who voted for Trump’s impeachment and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who voted for Trump’s conviction. During his recent speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump singled out each for criticism. Trump recently endorsed Max Miller, a former White House aide who is waging a challenge to Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, a Republican impeachment backer from Ohio.
Mace opposed Trump’s impeachment, though she has said that his actions “put all our lives at risk” at the Capitol on Jan. 6. The day after the insurrection, Mace told The State, a Columbia, S.C., newspaper, that she no longer believed in Trump.
Bolling, who lives in Charleston, is a longtime Trump friend and would conceivably be able to draw on the former president’s base of supporters should he choose to run. He interviewed Trump more than a half-dozen times during his presidency and hosted an hour-long town hall with the former president just before the 2020 election.
It isn’t the first time that Bolling, a former Wall Street trader-turned–host on Fox News Channel and Sinclair Broadcast Group, has weighed a political run. The 58-year-old moved to South Carolina several years ago as he was mulling waging a primary bid against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), though he ultimately opted against a bid.
Bolling has recently been hosting a podcast with football hall-of-famer Brett Favre. In January, Sinclair canceled his show “America This Week,” which he’d hosted for two years. Prior to joining Sinclair, he spent 11 years at Fox News. Bolling left the network in Sept. 2017 amid allegations that he engaged in sexual misconduct, though he has denied the accusations.
Rice has drawn several primary opponents since his impeachment vote, including state Rep. William Bailey and Horry County School Board Chairman Ken Richardson.