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#SC2018: Attacks Against John Warren Ramp Up

GOP challenger getting hit from all angles …

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For a guy who is supposed to be way down in the polls, South Carolina businessman John Warren is certainly catching a lot of flak.

Story of his life, right?

Three weeks ago, the 39-year-old Marine veteran was on track to defeat the state’s incumbent “Republican” governor Henry McMaster in the first round of GOP voting on June 12.   In fact multiple pollsters told us Warren was likely going to edge out the incumbent on the first round of balloting two weeks ago – which would have made him a heavy favorite in a head-to-head runoff election against McMaster.

Of course that was before Warren was hit with a ferocious broadside during the last week of the race from the third-place finisher, Lowcountry labor attorney Catherine Templeton.

Templeton’s ads nailed Warren on abortion and the Second Amendment – two potent issues with GOP voters.  Not only did those attacks blunt Warren’s momentum, they helped McMaster avoid richly deserved scrutiny at a critical moment in the race.

Now Warren is getting blasted by groups loyal to McMaster … a 71-year-old career politician who is desperate to hang onto his office.

The most damaging of the ads comes from a group known as the S.C. Industry Project.  According to its spot – which has generated a storm of controversy – Warren is conflicted because a hedge fund supporting his financial firm has placed a big bet on a merger involving embattled Cayce, S.C.-based utility SCANA.

“Do we really want a governor whose backers make big money when ratepayers and taxpayers lose?” the ad’s narrator asks.

Take a look …

(Click to view)

(Via: S.C. Industry Project)

Incredibly effective … but is the ad accurate?

S.C. Industry Project has touted its own fact check attesting to the veracity of the spot, but one of the reporters whose work was cited in the ad slammed it as “incredibly deceitful.”

“Virtually every sentence the narrator utters is either misleading or an outright lie,” reporter Avery Wilks of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper tweeted.

Wilks also accused the group of fabricating a headline from his media outlet.

Beyond the dust-up with the press, the spot also (briefly) landed the group in hot water legally because it failed to incorporate a required disclaimer.  That disclaimer has since been added, however, and the controversial ad is back on the air.

Meanwhile, in a far less effective offering, Warren is also getting hit for supporting “communist China.”  That claim is being advanced by the Palmetto PAC – a group that has relied on some curious donations from Democrats in North Carolina.

“South Carolina needs a governor who will stand with Donald Trump and fight communist China,” the ad’s narrator states.  “That is not weak John Warren.”

Here’s that spot …

(Click to view)

(Via: Palmetto PAC)

Actually, this is one of the few issues where Warren might actually gain support in the Palmetto State for opposing Trump.

As our guest columnist Emily Conrad eloquently noted in a recent guest column, South Carolina is likely to suffer disproportionately from a trade war with China – and GOP primary voters know it.  Also, the last time we checked McMaster is opposed to the same tariffs Warren has come out against – making this particular ad even less effective.

“They picked the worst issue to try and contrast him with Trump,” one GOP strategist told us.

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Polls in the 2018 race are all over the map, but the general consensus is that McMaster is ahead of Warren as the race approaches the finish line.

That’s unfortunate …

This news site has made it abundantly clear that such an outcome would not be in the best interest of the Palmetto State.  We’re not the only ones who think so, either.

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