REPUBLICAN INCUMBENT RAISES BIG BUCKS …
A black tie gala honoring S.C. governor Henry McMaster and his wife, first lady Peggy McMaster, raised $700,000 for the new chief executive’s upcoming gubernatorial campaign.
That’s according to multiple sources familiar with Friday’s “Governor’s Ball” in Columbia, S.C.
“(It was) a big and successful event,” one source told us. “He’s gonna have a big quarter.”
How big? We won’t know for sure until early April, but most observers expect McMaster to post an initial fundraising haul in the neighborhood of $2 million.
“They’re on the phones and having success,” a source close to McMaster’s campaign told us.
That doesn’t surprise us. McMaster is plugged into the national network of U.S. president Donald Trump, whose candidacy he endorsed prior to the 2016 “First in the South” presidential primary.
McMaster’s initial gubernatorial campaign finance report – submitted on February 2 – showed contributions of $160,250. It did not list any expenses or loans.
The new governor – who took office in January after former governor Nikki Haley was confirmed as the United States ambassador to the United Nations – has just one announced challenger for the 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary, former Democratic lieutenant governor Yancey McGill. Another challenger, Charleston attorney and former S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) director Catherine Templeton, is expected to announce her candidacy next month.
Others could still jump into the race depending on how things unfold in the coming weeks and months … which has to be a disconcerting situation for McMaster backers who presumed as recently as a month ago that they were coasting toward a ten-year reign.
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(Via Travis Bell Photography)
What gives? Well, despite its financial success Friday evening’s “Governor’s Ball” gala took place under a political cloud – namely the ongoing #ProbeGate scandal.
This ongoing investigation has drawn a bead on the political empire of Richard Quinn and Associates – the firm that has advised McMaster for decades. In fact Quinn’s office was reportedly raided by agents of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) right around the time its leader – Richard Quinn – was summoned to appear before a statewide grand jury.
McMaster has stood by Quinn – even after the latter was named in an indictment alleging kickbacks to a sitting S.C. Senator.
Sources close to McMaster seem un-phased by the progressively worsening headlines. In fact, one told us they believed the scandal could actually wind up helping his reelection effort.
“Media shots (are) backfiring,” the sources said. “The (GOP) base is pissed. It is having a ‘Trump effect.'”
Is that true? We don’t think so … at least not yet … although efforts by Democrats to politicize the ongoing investigation have certainly played into the hands of those it is targeting. And if McMaster comes out of this investigation bloodied but unbowed – he could wind up with Trump himself delivering that message to GOP primary voters.
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