McMaster is ‘hoping to be in’ next South Carolina gov’s race

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South Carolina Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster all but announced he’s running for governor again in two years, saying Thursday that he’s “hoping to be in” the 2018 race.



BY MEG KINNARD, Associated Press, August 25, 2016

COLUMBIA, S.C.

South Carolina Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster all but announced he’s running for governor again in two years, saying Thursday that he’s “hoping to be in” the 2018 race.

McMaster’s comments during a Facebook live broadcast with state GOP Chairman Matt Moore were the closest that the longtime Republican official has come to announcing his candidacy.

“I’d love to do it,” McMaster said. “It’s too early to announce anything. But I hope I’m going to be able to do it. … I’m hoping to be in that race.”

Filing for the governor’s race doesn’t open until early 2018. And by not committing to running, McMaster — the first elected official to officially endorse Donald Trump’s candidacy — keeps himself open to possibly serving in a presidential administration, should Trump win in November.

McMaster, 69, is a former state attorney general, U.S. Attorney and state GOP chairman. Finishing third in a four-way Republican primary in the 2010 governor’s race, he went on to back the eventual winner, Nikki Haley, who tapped him to head up her transition team, as well as an ethics committee she created to make reform recommendations.

Haley was re-elected in 2014, and McMaster was elected separately to serve as her lieutenant governor. Going forward, starting in 2018, governor and lieutenant governor will be elected on the same ticket in South Carolina.

McMaster and Haley have worked together on a variety of issues but have clashed publicly over the presidential race. Haley initially backed Marco Rubio before saying she preferred Ted Cruz over Trump. Ultimately, she said she’ll back the party’s nominee but hasn’t explicitly given an endorsement of Trump.

McMaster, on the other hand, threw his support behind the billionaire businessman at a rally before South Carolina’s first-in-the-South primary, surprising many when he didn’t back a more establishment candidate. McMaster gave one of two speeches formally seconding Trump’s nomination, saying at the convention last month that Trump was what the country needed to succeed.

“He is a man of uncommon strength, uncommon determination, accomplishment and vision,” McMaster said, of Trump. “He may be the only man perfectly equipped to win the ferocious battle ahead.”

At South Carolina’s Republican convention this spring, McMaster said Trump was the only candidate who could unite the country. Haley made no mention of Trump at all, instead going after the Republican-dominated Legislature for spending time and money on projects that benefit themselves and their home districts.

Many other Republicans have already been mentioned as potential candidates for South Carolina’s 2018 governor’s race, including Attorney General Alan Wilson and former Department of Health and Environmental Control director Catherine Templeton. State Rep. Tommy Pope, R-York, has already said he intends to run.

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