INCUMBENT IN DOGFIGHT …
S.C. governor Henry McMaster has raised just over $960,000 for his 2018 gubernatorial campaign – and has $905,000 on hand – according to documents filed with the S.C. State Ethics Commission (SCSEC) this week.
That’s considerably less than the $1.5 million we expected him to raise – and is only a slightly better haul than the $700,000 raised by Catherine Templeton, his virtually unknown challenger. A third GOP gubernatorial candidate – former lieutenant governor Yancey McGill – has yet to file his quarterly paperwork with the SCSEC.
McMaster’s disappointing haul is bound to raise questions about the impact of an ongoing criminal investigation into corruption within state government – a probe that has drawn a bead on his longtime political advisor, neo-Confederate “Republican” consultant Richard Quinn.
Quinn’s offices were raided recently in connection with this ongoing investigation, and the names of Quinn and his son – S.C. Rep. Rick Quinn – were listed in the still-secret pages of a December 2013 S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) report that effectively launched the probe.
Of interest? Neither Richard Quinn’s name nor the name of his company appear on any of McMaster’s disclosed campaign expenses this go-round.
Instead, the governor paid just over $16,000 on February 5 in “fundraising consulting” fees to a company called Henrico LLC. This company – which lists former Quinn employee Brad Henry as its registered agent – was also paid just over $10,000 on March 1 and nearly $3,500 on February 15, both expenses listed as “fundraising consulting.” Henry was also personally reimbursed for just over $1,000 from McMaster’s campaign.
In previous campaigns, McMaster openly disclosed paying tens of thousands of dollars to Quinn’s firm.
Our take? McMaster – who was supposed to have had the 2018 election handed to him on a silver platter – suddenly finds himself in a dogfight. With cause for even greater concern moving forward. In fact, unless the governor finds a way to get out from under the cloud of scandal we suspect him to continue to underperform in the money race – opening the door to Templeton and potentially other opponents.
Banner via @HenryMcMaster