The annual South Carolina Tea Party Convention in Myrtle Beach, S.C. has become one of the most important political events in the Palmetto State. In 2015, it launched the victorious “First in the South” presidential bid of Donald Trump, and this year it figured to kickstart the 2018 GOP gubernatorial race.
Unfortunately for attendees (and voters), incumbent “Republican” governor Henry McMaster has chosen not to attend this gathering. According to John Steinberger of Lowcountry Source, McMaster “was invited but declined to participate.”
All three of the governor’s announced GOP challengers – Lowcountry labor attorney Catherine Templeton, lieutenant governor Kevin Bryant and former lieutenant governor Yancey McGill – will attend the event. In fact, all three will participate in a candidate forum this coming Monday (January 20) – the first time the 2018 candidates will share the same stage.
McMaster’s absence at this signature event is noteworthy – and will no doubt revive concerns about the 70-year-old’s fitness for office.[timed-content-server show=”2018-Jan-17 00:00:00″ hide=”2018-May-18 00:00:00″]
His failure to participate will also play into his rivals’ narratives that he has something to hide related to two blockbuster scandals – #ProbeGate (an ongoing investigation into corruption in state government) and #NukeGate (an ongoing scandal related to a scuttled $10 billion nuclear power plant).
#ProbeGate has drawn a bead on the political confederacy McMaster belonged to for the better part of the last four decades, while #NukeGate has raised allegations of pay-to-play conflicts of interest within his administration.
Templeton is already working hard to tie the scandals to McMaster’s refusal to participate in debates or public forums.
“We’ve got so many questions for Henry McMaster… but he seems to be hiding these days,” a post on Templeton’s Facebook page noted. “Can you blame him? Hiding is probably easier than fessing up to the sad truth: He sold South Carolina rate payers out for campaign cash!”
That’s some heat!
We’re also told a #HidingHenry hashtag is in the works on social media as a way to further drive home the issue.
We’re disappointed McMaster is ditching this event, too. In addition to addressing the numerous unanswered questions about his proximity to these two scandals, the governor desperately needs to appear at events like the tea party forum – and do well – if he hopes to silence the whisper campaign about his poor health.
The more public forums or scheduled debates McMaster ditches, the more voters will begin to question whether he does have something to hide – and whether he is fit to hold the job he is seeking.
Come out of hiding, governor. South Carolinians deserve answers from you. They also deserve to see evidence that you are up for the task at hand.
WANNA SOUND OFF?
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