In the run-up to the proxy war taking place in South Carolina’s first congressional district, one of the candidates who was courted most aggressively when it came to challenging first-term incumbent Nancy Mace was Beaufort County treasurer Maria Walls.
Such aggressive courting came as no surprise to regular readers of this news outlet. Walls – along with local school board member Rachel Wisnefski – has been eyed covetously by the consultant class as a congressional or statewide candidate during each of the last two election cycles.
In the run-up to the 2020 election cycle, for example, I noted there were “several Palmetto politicos … actively courting Walls as a statewide candidate sooner rather than later.”
So far, though, she has demurred …
Walls, 38, was viewed as a top prospect to challenge Mace in 2022 in light of her endorsement of Mount Pleasant town councilwoman Kathy Landing in the 2020 GOP congressional primary for the first district.
Mace defeated Landing, but didn’t fare as well in Beaufort County as she did in her home base up the coast in Charleston County.
“She would have been perfect,” one of my sources who frequently visits with former president Donald Trump at his prestigious Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida told me – referring to Walls.
Another candidate recruiter from MAGA-land described Walls as his “top choice” to challenge Mace – who was pilloried by Trump during his recent visit to Florence, S.C.
Walls would have been the perfect challenger … but for now, she is keeping her powder dry. And staying focused on her current job. Last week, the married mother of four announced her intention to seek another four-year term as county treasurer – disappointing many conservative advocates who had hoped she might challenge incumbent comptroller general Richard Eckstrom in 2022.
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A certified public accountant, Walls (above) won her current office in 2014 after serving for four years as deputy treasurer. In 2015, her first year in office, she was named “office holder of the year” by Thomson Reuters for achieving “excellence in planning, leadership and service” in Beaufort County. The following year, the SCGOP awarded Walls its top local government honor for “outstanding service to Beaufort County through the exemplification of conservative principles in public office.”
“Defying the government stereotype is why I am so passionate about breaking the government mold,” Walls said. “My team and I have transformed the Beaufort County’s treasurer’s office from a dilapidated bureaucracy to a service-centered, innovative leader in both the public and private sectors.”
Walls added she was looking forward to “launching more customer-first solutions as Beaufort County continues to grow.”
Sources familiar with Walls’ situation tell me she is open to running for higher office at some point in the future, but that for now she is focused on her current job – and the four young children she is raising with her husband.
That is certainly commendable as far too many people get mixed up in politics to the detriment of their family life …
Whenever she decides to take the next step, expect Walls to do so with considerable support. In fact, her announcement drew praise from state senator Tom Davis – arguably the most popular elected official in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
”Maria is a rising star within the party – someone with a proven record of accomplishment at the local level,” Davis told me. ”I look forward to continuing to support her efforts on behalf of taxpayers here in Beaufort County.”
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. Oh, he also has LOTS of hats … but has given them up for Lent this year.
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BANNER VIA: Maria Walls for Treasurer