There are at least two coin flips we see (at the moment) in the race for governor of South Carolina … or at least in the race for the “Republican” nomination for this office.
The first coin flip? Which of the four challengers to incumbent governor Henry McMaster will advance to the second round of balloting – i.e. the head-to-head matchup which is all-but-guaranteed to take place when no one wins a majority of votes in the first round of balloting on June 12.
That’s how things work in the Palmetto State: If you get fifty percent of the vote (plus one) in a partisan primary race … you are your party’s nominee. However if you come up even one vote short of that mark, as it appears McMaster is destined to do on June 12, then you have to do battle with the second place finisher.
There are no runoffs in general elections … at least not at the statewide level.
At the moment, the “Republican” undercard battle appears to have narrowed to two candidates – Lowcountry labor attorney Catherine Templeton and Upstate businessman John Warren. There’s a chance lieutenant governor Kevin Bryant could break into that mix, but he’s a long shot given his lack of resources.
Not surprisingly given the lay of the land, this week Warren began shifting his attacks from McMaster to Templeton – launching a new website aimed at debunking her claim to the mantle of “conservative outsider.”
The website – entitled “Conveniently Conservative Catherine Templeton” – actually riffs off of a theme we noted months ago in a post entitled “Catherine Templeton’s Opportunistic Populism.” Ironically, it also picks up on a line of attack McMaster used against Templeton last fall – notably her vote for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Vincent Sheheen over “Republican” Nikki Haley in the 2010 election.
“Catherine Templeton’s record speaks volumes,” Warren said in unveiling the site. “She doesn’t show up to vote in Republican presidential primaries, but she makes time to vote for liberal Democrat Vincent Sheheen. Republicans deserve a true conservative outsider they can trust as governor. That’s why I’m running.”[timed-content-server show=’2018-Jan-17 00:00:00′ hide=’2018-Jun-18 00:00:00′]
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Warren’s new website also claims to have caught Templeton in a lie: Claiming she never contributed to a Democratic candidate when records from the S.C. State Ethics Commission (SCSEC) show she gave $250 to Democratic lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Ashley Cooper in 2010.
We wonder: Since when did “Republicans” and Democrats in South Carolina differ so much?
Honestly … partisans love to draw these lines in the sand as if they have all sorts of significance, but do they?
Because the last time we checked “Republicans” in the Palmetto State were (are) far more addicted to big government than Democrats ever were when they were in power.
Partisan ideological symmetry aside, Templeton’s campaign didn’t take too kindly to Warren’s new website.
“It’s an open secret that John Warren has talked about running for one political office after another for years,” Templeton campaign manager R.J. May III told us. “He’s clearly had plenty of practice talking like a politician. But here are the facts: Catherine Templeton is a conservative outsider. She’s the only candidate Nikki Haley asked to be part of her cabinet and the only candidate President Trump offered a job in his administration. This desperate website is nothing but a typical false political attack from the good old boys, and voters will see right through it.”
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