Upstate South Carolina businessman John Warren – who nearly knocked off incumbent “Republican” governor Henry McMaster in a GOP primary election four years ago – will not campaign for the Palmetto State’s top executive post in 2022, according to a statement obtained exclusively by this news outlet.
In an email sent to a handful of his closest supporters on Thursday morning, the combat veteran and entrepreneur said the decision not to run was reached in consultation with his wife, Courtney Warren.
“As a long time friend and supporter, I wanted you to be among the first to know about my decision regarding the 2022 gubernatorial election,” Warren wrote in the email. “Courtney and I have spent a great deal of time in prayer and discussion about this decision and have ultimately decided that, right now, we have no plans to run for public office in 2022. I will be sending out a public statement shortly.”
According to the statement – a copy of which was obtained by this news outlet – Warren plans to focus his energies on his latest business venture, which he announced last month. Warren and a “team of seasoned South Carolina-based business leaders” unveiled a new Bitcoin mining company called Gem Mining in mid-December. The company is “mining Bitcoin using highly complex computers and software,” and has an initial valuation of more than $1.5 billion.
Warren called the company “an example of the power of entrepreneurship.”
“Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to launch a new business headquartered here in South Carolina,” Warren said in his statement. “Entrepreneurship is a passion of mine, and I am blessed with the opportunity to contribute to South Carolina’s economy by creating jobs. Right now, given my responsibilities as CEO, I do not plan to seek public office in 2022.”
In September 2019, Warren sold his stake in Lima One Capital, the Greenville, South Carolina-based specialty mortgage firm he founded in 2011. The financial windfall from that sale prompted significant speculation that Warren would self-fund another gubernatorial bid in 2022.
During the 2020 election cycle, Warren launched a new political organization – South Carolina’s Conservative Future – which was active in numerous S.C State House races. Early last year, Warren led the fight to keep the left-leaning S.C. General Assembly from electing another liberal Democrat to the state’s judicial branch.
“Thank you to all of the state legislators who had the backbone and courage to stand against liberal activism and the status quo,” Warren wrote on his Facebook page at the time. “When the GOP unites around conservative principles and we have strong leadership, there is nothing our state cannot achieve!”
Since then, Warren’s group has been focused on holding fiscally liberal Palmetto State politicians accountable for their actions – especially as it relates to their anti-competitive policies on taxes and spending.
While not seeking elected office for the time being, Warren said Thursday he has no plans to exit the political arena.
“As I have always said, South Carolina is an incredible place filled with incredible people – and I have a continued passion for service,” Warren said. “I will continue to invest in efforts to advance the conservative movement across the state as honorary chairman of South Carolina’s Conservative Future. The organization remains committed to supporting courageous, conservative, and capable leaders to serve in statewide office and in the legislature. In 2022, we are dedicated to supporting a strong conservative leader for superintendent of education and multiple candidates for the House of Representatives.”
Given his vast resources (and preexisting name identification and political network), Warren was easily the top potential challenger to McMaster – and his decision to stay out of the race all but ensures the fiscally liberal incumbent will capture the GOP gubernatorial nomination this June.
That’s obviously disappointing news to fiscal conservatives, who viewed Warren as a promising alternative to the results-challenged status quo in Columbia, S.C. While “Republican” politicians in South Carolina love to talk about how “conservative” they are, they continue to embrace mindless government growth, escalating crony capitalism and all manner of command economic disasters.
McMaster, sadly, has been a huge part of the problem since he inherited this office in January 2017.
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As of this writing, McMaster has just one announced primary opponent. Harrison Musselwhite – a.k.a. “Trucker Bob” – announced his candidacy for the GOP gubernatorial nomination last month. Musselwhite is part of the Palmetto State’s “MAGA Movement.” Specifically, he is a legislative committee chairman for the Greenville County GOP – a group which was taken over earlier this year by hard core Trump loyalists.
On the Democratic side, there are three announced candidates: “Centrist” former congressman Joe Cunningham of Charleston, second-term S.C. state senator Mia McLeod of northeast Columbia and self-proclaimed “progressive” health care advocate Gary Votour of Columbia.
Do any of them have a path to victory? No …
Filing for partisan primary elections opens at 12:00 p.m. EST on March 16, 2022 and closes at noon two weeks later (March 30, 2022). Primaries will be held on June 14, 2022 with runoffs set for two weeks later (June 28, 2022). In South Carolina, if no candidate receives more than fifty percent of the ballots in a primary race, a runoff election is held two weeks later between the top two vote-getters.
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 Los Angeles Dodgers’ lid pictured above).
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