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THIRD PARTY CHALLENGER PREPARING ANNOUNCEMENT …

The Libertarian Party of South Carolina will nominate a gubernatorial candidate for the first time in more than a decade-and-a-half, multiple sources familiar with the impending announcement tell FITS.

While these sources declined to give us the name of the candidate, they described him as a “Lowcountry businessman” capable of self-funding a portion of his campaign.

An announcement could come within a week, we’re told.

Interesting …

The last libertarian candidate to run for governor – Timothy Moultrie of Aiken, S.C. – garnered 1.3 percent of the vote in 1998. Moultrie had no money to get his message out, though – and was running at a time when the Republican party still had some credibility on fiscal issues.

Not anymore …

We’ve been arguing for months that South Carolina voters deserve a viable third option – a candidate capable of providing a contrast between big government backers Nikki Haley (RINO-Lexington) and Vincent Sheheen (D-Camden).

Haley ran as a Tea Party Republican, but veered wildly toward the status quo after receiving the GOP nomination in 2010. Things have only gotten worse since then. In fact on taxes, spending, education and (most notably) government-subsidized health care, she’s governed like a Democrat – a pattern that has accelerated in recent years due to the lack of a pro-free market challenger on her ideological right flank.

Can the Libertarian Party’s candidate emerge as a credible challenge to the state’s failed two-party system?

That depends …

If the party’s nominee fails to raise money, then another abysmal 1.3 percent showing is likely. However if a legitimate candidate can get on television with a consistent message – anything is possible.

In addition to the Libertarian Party’s nominee, former S.C. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer is reportedly still contemplating a third party bid of his own – also eyeing Haley’s vulnerable right flank.