“DOLLAR DOLLAR BILLS …”
South Carolina GOP gubernatorial hopeful Catherine Templeton has seen her campaign surge into co-frontrunner status with incumbent “Republican” Henry McMaster – a shocking development given Templeton’s status as a political “neophyte” and McMaster’s status as a perpetual candidate over the past four decades.
Seriously … this race was supposed to be a coronation for McMaster, who was gift-wrapped the advantage of incumbency – and had the 2018 field “cleared” for him – due to his prior support for U.S. president Donald Trump.
How did Templeton turn the race on its head?
Two big things happened …
First, the Mount Pleasant attorney raised a ton of money. Second, McMaster got scared and unleashed an ill-advised attack on his new rival – one which backfired badly (and wound up drawing more attention to his own problems).
Now it seems even Democrats – who lack a candidate of their own at the moment – are training their fire on Templeton more than they are on the incumbent.
Which is absolutely unheard of …
Even more troubling for McMaster, Templeton’s rise has encouraged other GOP candidates to seize upon his weakness – with sitting lieutenant governor Kevin Bryant jumping into the race last week and fiscally conservative State Senator Tom Davis eyeing an entry in the weeks to come.
Remember, though … all of this began as a result of Templeton’s fundraising prowess.
Can she keep it up?
According to our sources, “yes.” Templeton – who has been surprisingly effective garnering financial support beyond her Lowcountry base – returns to Charleston on Wednesday night for a fundraiser at Victor Social Club. It’s one of several fundraising events on her schedule this week, we’re told.
“She has a ton of momentum right now,” one GOP donor told us. “There’s still money on the sidelines too – and money that is going to have to start playing both sides of the race in light of the incumbent’s weakening position.”
Stay tuned …
Third quarter financial reports are due in early October. As of the end of the second quarter, McMaster had $1.5 million on hand compared to Templeton’s $1.3 million. Needless to say it will be very interesting to see how their head-to-head battle fares, and very interesting to see what sort of numbers Bryant and (possibly) Davis post in their campaign filings.
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