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#SC2018: Gubernatorial Frontrunners Gearing Up

Catherine Templeton, Henry McMaster roll out new field generals …

The two top candidates for governor of South Carolina will head toward the homestretch of this spring’s GOP primary election with new generals at the head of their armies.

Incumbent “Republican” Henry McMaster – who is still arguably the frontrunner to win his party’s nomination – announced the selection of veteran political operative Scott Farmer to lead his organization after former campaign manager Katie Baham abruptly resigned her post earlier this month.

Farmer is a longtime advisor to uber-liberal U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham.  He also owns a residential and vacation real estate firm called Lovell Investments.

Meanwhile, the insurgent campaign of Lowcountry labor attorney Catherine Templeton welcomed RJ May III as its campaign manager on January 1.  The former statewide director of the S.C. Club for Growth, May most recently served on the victorious fifth district congressional campaign of U.S. congressman Ralph Norman.

Obviously campaign managers are vitally important in managing day-to-day operations, but the direction of a campaign is generally dictated by its chief strategist.

For McMaster, that remains Tim Pearson – a Chicago-based advisor who previously worked for former S.C. governor Nikki Haley.  Pearson made the news earlier this month after he unleashed a lengthy, profane Twitter rant against Templeton.

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Frankly, we’re amazed Pearson still has a job … not because of his Twitter rant, but because of the utter listlessness of McMaster’s campaign over the past year.

Having been gift-wrapped the governor’s office last January by U.S. president Donald Trump, McMaster has stumbled, bumbled and fumbled his way into what is shaping up to be an incredibly competitive election – and that’s assuming he emerges unscathed (relatively) from an ongoing, multi-jurisdictional criminal investigation targeting the empire of his former strategist, Richard Quinn.

As for Templeton, she continues to rely on the advice of Ward Baker – an establishment GOP strategist from Nashville, Tennessee.  Templeton retained Baker last August, calling him a “game changer” in the race against McMaster.

The two frontrunners – along with S.C. lieutenant governor Kevin Bryant and former lieutenant governor Yancey McGill – have all announced for the GOP primary, which is scheduled for June 12.  Greenville businessman John Warren is also considering jumping into the race.  Candidates will formally file their paperwork for the primary in March, and if no one receives a majority of the votes in that race then a GOP runoff election will be held on June 26.

To follow all of our coverage of the statewide elections, click on the #SC2018 tag.

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