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Henry McMaster: 2018 Update




Last week this website did a story on the 2018 gubernatorial aspirations of S.C. lieutenant governor Henry McMaster.

To read our report, click here.

This week, the Associated Press is weighing in on McMaster’s prospects as a candidate for the state’s top executive post.

According to reporter Meg Kinnard, the thick-drawled, 69-year-old guffawer is “hoping” to be a candidate in the upcoming election.

“I’d love to do it,” McMaster said during a social media chat this week. “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.”

Kinnard attributed McMaster’s reluctance to more formally (well, decisively) declare himself a candidate to his proximity to GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

If Trump is victorious in November, then McMaster – who lent him a key “First in the South” presidential endorsement – might be in line for a sweet gig in Washington, D.C.

A week ago, sources close to the veteran politician tell us his plans were “unsettled” – but that he was leaning against a gubernatorial bid at this point.  Well, assuming term-limited S.C. governor Nikki Haley – who has seen her power at the state level evaporate – didn’t step down and gift-wrap the benefit of incumbency.

“If Haley were to leave office early he would absolutely campaign as an incumbent,” one McMaster confidant told us.  “But I don’t see him engaging an open primary in 2018.”

Still other sources insist McMaster is a lock to run – no matter who announces (or eventually files) as a “Republican” candidate.

As we reported earlier this week, the 2018 race is already gearing up … meaning McMaster will have to commit one way or the other, sooner rather than later.

S.C. Rep. Tommy Pope and former Democratic lieutenant governor Yancey McGill have already declared themselves as candidates for the GOP nomination in 2018 – and U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, Lowcountry attorney Catherine Templeton and embattled S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson are widely expected to join them next year.

S.C. Senator Tom Davis, U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, S.C. Rep. Kirkman Finlay, Upstate solicitor Walt Wilkins and Columbia, S.C. businessman and political donor Bill Stern are also mulling bids – and there are persistent rumors that U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford might seek the office he held from 2003-11.