A former town councilman in Chester county, South Carolina announced this week that he is filing paperwork to run for governor of the Palmetto State – making him the fourth announced candidate for this statewide office.
Al Bellavance, a former town council member from Fort Lawn, S.C., said he is running for governor because “South Carolina deserves a better economy, better schools, and better infrastructure.”
“I believe that if the governor is closer to the people of South Carolina, then we will prosper,” Bellavance said in kicking off his candidacy on Monday. “We will not be ranked at the bottom. We will be looking up and not looking down. Let’s focus on health, transportation, workforce development, education, and criminal justice reform. The success of South Carolina is not the governor … the success of South Carolina is the people working together. And as your Governor, I will work with you.”
News of Bellavance’s candidacy was first reported by The (Chester, S.C.) News and Reporter, which indicated that the former town councilman plans to seek the Republican nomination for governor. If Bellavance follows through on those stated intentions, he would become the first GOP challenger to submit paperwork to campaign against incumbent “Republican” Henry McMaster.
The filing period for statewide offices in South Carolina does not formally open until next March, but candidates who raise or spend money in pursuit of these offices must submit campaign finance paperwork to the S.C. State Ethics Commission (SCSEC).
Do I suspect Bellavance will emerge as a financially viable challenger against McMaster? No … I do not.
McMaster is obviously far more concerned with the potential challenge he faces from Upstate businessman John Warren, who nearly vanquished him in a GOP runoff election three years ago. Warren has not said whether he is running against McMaster again in 2022 – although he has stepped up his political advocacy in recent weeks.
On the Democratic side, former U.S. congressman Joe Cunningham and state senator Mia McLeod are the two announced candidates – with Cunningham enjoying an early lead in fundraising.
Neither Cunningham nor McLeod are expected to pose much of a threat in the 2022 general election, however, as South Carolina’s electorate veered even further to the right in 2020.
Bellavance is a former town council member from Fort Lawn, a town of approximately 900 people located in the Interstate 77 corridor between Columbia, S.C. and Charlotte, N.C. The town is approximately twenty miles south of Rock Hill, S.C. and ten miles south of the Landsford Canal State Park – a destination which popped up on the radar of our readers thanks to this popular photo of former state representative Mandy Powers Norrell.
Bellavance has previously campaigned unsuccessfully for mayor of Fort Lawn.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats (including that Fayetteville Woodpeckers’ lid pictured above).
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