#SC2018: John Warren Antes Up

Upstate businessman says he’s putting $2.5 million into his gubernatorial campaign …


Up to this point, we’ve seen little indication that Upstate businessman John Warren is moving the masses in his bid to become governor of South Carolina.

Since launching his television campaign on April 3, most of the polls we’ve seen show Warren battling S.C. lieutenant governor Kevin Bryant for third place in this race – trailing incumbent “Republican” governor Henry McMaster and Lowcountry labor attorney Catherine Templeton.

Warren’s pollsters are seeing something different, though,  prompting the candidate to announce his intention to invest a whopping $2.5 million of his own money into the race.

According to reporter Meg Kinnard of The Associated Press, Warren is putting this hefty sum into his campaign coffers prior to the GOP primary election on June 12 – a sign he intends to match the two front-runners dollar-for-dollar.

Kinnard filed a report on the cash infusion early Thursday citing “campaign communications” obtained by her wire service.

At the conclusion of the first quarter of 2018, McMaster had just under $3 million in the bank compared to Templeton’s $2.5 million.  All three candidates are running television ads across the state – and are expected to stay on the air over the next forty days.

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According to Kinnard, Warren is “making the long-anticipated move as new polling numbers show him just a few points behind McMaster.”

A Marine veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq, Warren’s interest in the governor’s office was exclusively reported by this news site in late November.  In early December, Warren opened a campaign account and issued a statement confirming his interest in the race.  The following month, he stepped down as chief executive officer of Lima One Capital – the Greenville, S.C.-based  “specialty mortgage finance company”  he founded nearly a decade ago.

Since he jumped into the race in February, this news site has tended to write favorably of Warren.  In fact we praised him earlier this week for taking an aggressive stance when it comes to campaigning against state lawmakers who refuse to support long overdue reforms to state government.

In the immortal words of Salt-N-Pepa, that’s “very necessary.”

Irrespective of what we think of Warren (or his fellow challengers), though, there’s no denying his announcement is more bad news for McMaster – who was supposed to cruise to victory this year being gifted the Palmetto State governor’s office last January by U.S. president Donald Trump.

Things haven’t worked out that way …

Instead of steamrolling a field of penny-ante candidates, McMaster has drawn multiple, well-funded challengers.  And despite Trump’s endorsement, he is struggling to capture the fifty percent (plus one) of the vote he needs on June 12 to advance to the general election without a runoff.

In South Carolina partisan primary races, if no candidate wins a majority of votes on the first ballot the top two vote-getters face off in a runoff election two weeks later.  That’s where McMaster is viewed as exceedingly vulnerable in this election.



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