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#SC2018: Democrats, Finally

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A pair of Democratic state lawmakers are mulling entrances into the 2018 South Carolina governor’s race.

Former S.C. House minority leader James Smith told The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier this week he was taking meetings with advisors and national Democratic leaders in an effort to determine whether he should run.

“We need to make sure that we have someone in this race who has the ability to bring people together,” Smith told the paper.

That’s a surprising development considering Smith’s status as a prospetive candidate for the State Senate seat currently held by John Courson.  A liberal “Republican” who is staring down some serious health problems, Courson is also facing a three-count indictment connected to #ProbeGate, the ongoing investigation into corruption in state government.

Many believe Smith would be a shoo-in to win a special election for this seat … a race which would commence in the event the 72-year-old Courson either resigns or is removed from office.

The governor’s race?  Even a candidate as credible as Smith would enter that contest as a long shot.

A war hero who re-enlisted to fight the “War on Terror” in Afghanistan, Smith has been touted as a statewide candidate for nearly a decade.  In fact many Democrats believe the 49-year-old attorney should have run in 2010 or 2014 as opposed to two-time gubernatorial nominee Vincent Sheheen.

Sheheen’s second campaign against incumbent GOP governor Nikki Haley, in particular, was an unmitigated disaster – and the veteran State Senator now finds himself staring down a credible challenge of his own in 2020.

Smith has represented S.C. House district 72 (map) for the past two decades – including his active duty tour in Afghanistan from February 2007 to May of 2008.  He served as minority leader for four years of his tenure.

In addition to Smith, state representative Justin Bamberg is also contemplating a run for governor next year.

Bamberg, 30, has served in the S.C. House since 2015.  An attorney from the small, rural town that bears his last name, he tweeted this week that he was considering challenging incumbent “Republican” Henry McMaster because of the latter’s continued support for U.S. president Donald Trump.

“Maybe I should challenge him,” Bamberg said, referring to McMaster’s ongoing support of Trump.

Actually McMaster – once viewed as unbeatable in 2018 – will be lucky to make it out of his “Republican” primary race (even with Trump’s help).

Tainted by his proximity to the #ProbeGate investigation, McMaster is facing a sterner-than-expected challenge from Mount Pleasant, S.C. attorney Catherine Templeton – who is actually drawing the majority of Democratic fire at this early stage of the race.

In addition to Templeton, current S.C. lieutenant governor Kevin Bryant of Anderson has announced his candidacy – as has former lieutenant governor Yancey McGill of Kingstree.   Meanwhile Tom Davis – a fiscally conservative, libertarian leaning State Senator – is expected to jump into the race soon.

This website has preemptively endorsed Davis’ bid in the event he decides to run.

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