Upstate businessman John Warren is pulling out all of the stops as he tries to punch his ticket into next month’s “Republican” gubernatorial runoff election in South Carolina.
As of this writing, Warren is in third place with likely GOP primary voters in the Palmetto State – trailing incumbent governor Henry McMaster and Lowcountry labor attorney Catherine Templeton. According to the most recent data we’ve been shown, Warren is polling at around 11 percent – behind Templeton’s 21 percent and McMaster’s 39 percent.
Warren’s supporters tell us his numbers are on the move, though, buttressed by the $2.5 million the Marine-turned-CEO is plowing into his race.
That money is fueling some pretty nifty campaign advertising … which the 39-year-old is hoping will help him catch Templeton when GOP voters go to the polls on June 12. If he’s able to do that, Warren would go up against McMaster in a head-to-head matchup on June 26 – not Templeton.
Entitled “While They,” Warren’s latest 30-second spot contrasts his wartime service with the conduct of “Columbia politicians.”
“While Columbia politicians handed out no bid contracts, my platoon was hit by an IED,” he said, referring to the deadly improvised explosive devices that killed hundreds of U.S. soldiers during the most recent war in Iraq. “While they ran up the debt, a suicide bomber drove into our base.?”
Here’s the ad (filmed at the Vietnam and Korean war memorials in Greenville, S.C.) …
(Click to view)
(Via: John Warren for Governor)
“Columbia politicians dishonor us with their corruption, and their greed,” Warren said in a news release accompanying his latest ad. “When I’m governor, I’ll clean up corruption by ending no bid contracts, and make politicians justify their spending.”
Warren has been running in his own lane for the past month while Templeton and McMaster trade barbs – and television ads.
Meanwhile lieutenant governor Kevin Bryant and former lieutenant governor Yancey McGill both lack the resources to engage a statewide paid media campaign – thus limiting their upward mobility in the polls.
Where do we envision this race going?
Barring a seismic shift in the landscape, we don’t see McMaster hitting the fifty percent (plus one) threshold he must reach in order to win the GOP nomination on the first ballot. In fact, we see him falling well short of that mark – which only increases his vulnerability in the next round of balloting.
In a South Carolina partisan primary election involving more than two contestants, if no candidate receives a majority of votes on the first ballot – i.e. fifty percent plus one – then the top two finishers square off two weeks later in a runoff election.
McMaster’s struggles are surprising when you consider he was gifted this office by U.S. president Donald Trump, has used money raised at a Trump fundraiser to subsidize his campaign and is currently starring in television ads alongside, you guessed it, Trump.
The fact he remains in a dogfight after all of that is a testament to the ineptness of his campaign organization – and in particular his lead strategist, Tim Pearson.
It’s also why the battle for second place on June 12 is so important. Whichever candidate crosses the finish line behind McMaster on that date will likely blow past him two weeks later and claim the GOP nod (assuming McMaster doesn’t have a miracle in the vest pocket of one of those 1990s mobster wanna-be suits he likes to wear).
WANNA SOUND OFF?
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