With full spectrum GOP support and the “case of the century” (the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga) on his prosecutorial plate, South Carolina attorney general Alan Wilson formally filed for a fourth term in office on Wednesday.
First elected in 2010, Wilson – son of U.S. congressman Joe Wilson – has been reelected twice. If he wins his party’s nomination and prevails in the 2022 general election (as he is expected to do), he will become the longest-serving attorney general since Democrat Daniel R. McLeod – who held the office from 1959-1983.
When Wilson last faced voters, he was incredibly vulnerable given his perceived mishandling of an anti-corruption investigation targeting his former political consultant, Richard Quinn. Since then, though, the tables have turned as it relates to the public perception of that inquiry – and who really mishandled it.
Today? Wilson is virtually unassailable, drawing high marks from establishment Republicans as well the conservative wing of the GOP. In fact, Wilson got a shout out from former U.S president Donald Trump at the latter’s MAGA-palooza rally in Florence, S.C. on Saturday.
Two years ago, Wilson led a coalition of attorneys general in opposing the first impeachment of Trump over his alleged conduct vis-à-vis Ukraine.
Despite his broad support from GOP voters, Wilson is facing a challenge in the June 2022 “Republican” primary – from Bluffton, S.C. attorney Lauren Martel. Unlike 2018, though – when Wilson defeated a pair of credible, well-funded GOP rivals – Martel is not expected to pose much of a challenge to the third-term incumbent.
“My early assessment of Martel’s candidacy is that it will amount to little more than an opportunity for Wilson to double up on his campaign contributions (as donors will be able to support him in both the primary and general election cycles in 2022),” I noted in covering Martel’s announcement back in January.
Wilson has spent the last two years burnishing his conservative bona fides. For example, he has been a national leader among Republican attorneys general in their largely successful legal challenges to various federal Covid-19 vaccine mandates.
Upon being appointed chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) earlier this year, Wilson helped organize several multi-state legal challenges to the various diktats coming out of Washington, D.C. In doing so, he vowed RAGA would serve as a check “against the expansion of federal power and unconstitutional actions being implemented by congress and the Biden administration.”
Wilson, a 48-year-old West Columbia, S.C. native, enters the 2022 campaign season with a lot occupying his mind. For starters, he is in charge of prosecuting arguably the highest-profile criminal case South Carolina has seen in decades – one which has placed tremendous pressure on him and his office.
More recently, over the weekend his wife Jennifer Wilson – a former WIS TV-10 (NBC – Columbia, S.C.) reporter and spokesperson for one of the state’s largest hospital systems – publicly announced she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
As I noted last week, candidate filing for partisan primary elections commenced at 12:00 p.m. EDT today. The filing period will close two weeks from now – at 12:00 p.m. EDT on March 30, 2022. The current election schedule calls for primary elections to be held on June 14, 2022 with runoffs set for two weeks later on 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. Oh, he also has LOTS of hats … but has given them up for Lent this year.
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