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#SC2018: Kevin Bryant Gets Big Midlands Endorsement

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Since he announced his candidacy last summer, South Carolina lieutenant governor Kevin Bryant has been running a disciplined, but not particularly decisive or impactful gubernatorial campaign.

Bryant’s biggest problem?  Cash.  Or rather a lack thereof …

According to his campaign’s latest quarterly financial report, the 51-year-old pharmacist from Anderson, S.C. has just under $183,000 to spend as the “Republican” gubernatorial battle hits its homestretch.

That stack of cheddar is simply insufficient to be competitive in an air war against incumbent governor Henry McMaster, well-funded challenger Catherine Templeton of Charleston and self-funded businessman John Warren of Greenville.

Still, Bryant has a devoted following of fiscal and social conservatives – meaning he remains in the mix (for now, anyway) for one of two coveted spots in a likely GOP runoff election on June 26.  In South Carolina, if no candidate receives a majority of votes on the first ballot in a partisan primary election – a runoff election between the two top vote-getters is held two weeks later.

McMaster appears to be a lock for one of these two spots following the June 12 primary, meaning a furious battle is underway for the other.

Bryant got a nice boost in his bid to make the runoff when he was endorsed this week by second-term state senator Katrina Shealy.  Elected as a petition candidate in 2012, Shealy caucused with the GOP following her upset victory and won that party’s nomination for the Lexington County seat (map) two years ago.

She has previously been mentioned as a possible running mate on a ticket with Bryant – and on Monday evening she threw her support behind his candidacy.

“I like all the candidates personally but when it comes down to my beliefs and values they are more in line with (Bryant),” Shealy wrote on her Facebook page.  “Don’t just go with the name you know or the person who has the most TV Ads.  Get the facts.”

That’s good advice …

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“Everybody says he’s the underdog, and he is, but Lexington County is great for supporting underdogs,” Shealy added.

While we don’t always see eye-to-eye with Shealy on certain issues, her reform credentials are impeccable – and as we noted last fall she “has been aggressive in taking on several of the most dysfunctional agencies in McMaster’s cabinet.”

We added at the time that if Bryant did wind up selecting her as his No. 2, she would be “a compelling voice for reform on the campaign trail.”

Bryant was thrilled to receive the support.

“Senator Shealy epitomizes the underdog who took on the establishment and won – after they kicked her off the ballot,” he said. “I’m very thankful to have her support as we build momentum across South Carolina for election day.”

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