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#SC2018: Greenville Businessman On Catherine Templeton’s List

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Greenville, South Carolina businessman John Warren – who made waves last week with his decision to explore a 2018 gubernatorial bid – was among those under consideration for the lieutenant governor’s job in a Catherine Templeton administration.

He may still be under consideration for such a position …

Templeton is the Lowcountry labor attorney currently taking the fight to incumbent governor Henry McMaster – the embattled “Republican” whose 2018 candidacy has been nothing short of a disaster.

McMaster made his own waves last week by choosing Upstate businesswoman Pamela Evette as his running mate.  His selection of Evette – a political unknown – drew jeers from several of his top donors.  It also prompted speculation as to who Templeton might tap for this role.

For years, lieutenant governors have been independently elected in South Carolina – and politically impotent.  That will change in 2018 when the office is elected as part of a ticket – similar to the way the president and vice president are elected.

Templeton hasn’t announced who she would run with in the event she wins the GOP gubernatorial nomination next June, but her campaign told Associated Press reporter Meg Kinnard last week about the sort of individual Templeton is looking for as a running mate.

“When the time is right, we’ll pick a good, strong conservative who isn’t part of the culture of corruption,” the Templeton campaign said in a statement to Kinnard.

Back in May, Templeton told reporter Avery Wilks of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper that she wanted to offer her choice a “true partnership” and that she was ideally searching for “an Upstate Republican” with a “business perspective.”

“I really want a partner, someone who brings perspective different than mine but that is in touch with what we need in our lives,” Templeton told Wilks.

According to our sources, Warren was one of Templeton’s top choices for this post.  Back in February, in fact, he attended a gathering of possible Templeton running mates convened outside of Columbia, S.C.

A source who was invited to this event tells us Templeton’s campaign brought a group of possible running mates together for a hunt.  There she “met with John Warren, among others,” according to our source.

“He is also a part of a young professional group statewide that is out in force for Templeton,” the source told us.

Warren’s proximity to the Templeton campaign has fueled speculation that his flirtation with the governor’s office is a prelude to him being announced as Templeton’s No. 2.

Warren downplayed that speculation, though.

“While I haven’t made a final decision yet … I can tell you that if I run it will be for governor and not lieutenant governor,” Warren told us.

Interesting …

As we’ve previously noted, lieutenant gubernatorial selections are purely aspirational – unless and until the candidate who makes them wins their party’s nomination for governor.

McMaster was supposed to be a shoo-in to win the GOP nomination.  After being gifted the governor’s mansion back in January (thanks to U.S. president Donald Trump‘s appointment of Nikki Haley to his cabinet), the 70-year-old Columbia politician was supposed to cruise to victory in the 2018 election … and beyond.  It hasn’t worked out that way, though.

McMaster has been a disaster on multiple fronts.  Fiscally reckless “leadership?”  Check and check.  Gross incompetence in leading state government?  Check and check.  Economic stagnation?  Check and check.  A campaign organization in total disarray?  Check and check.  Proximity to a pair of major political scandals.  Check … and check.

As a result his presumed ten-year reign over Palmetto State politics has turned into a pitched battle for his very political survival.

While it’s early days, McMaster doesn’t appear to have helped himself that much with his lieutenant gubernatorial selection.  Can Templeton do better?

We shall see …

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