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South Carolina Runoff: With Trump’s help, McMaster wins Republican nomination for governor

State Senator William Timmons gets GOP nod in 4th District U.S. House race

♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CFP) — Buoyed by backing from President Donald Trump, Governor Henry McMaster defeated Greenville businessman John Warren in a Republican runoff for governor, clearing a major hurdle in his quest to keep the job he inherited last year when Nikki Haley left to become UN ambassador.

McMaster

Governor Henry McMaster

McMaster took 53 percent in the June 26 runoff to 47 percent for Warren, a political newcomer who came from the back of the pack in the first primary round to win the second spot in the runoff.

In November, McMaster will face the Democratic nominee, State Rep. James Smith from Columbia. Democrats have not won a governor’s race in the Palmetto State in 20 years.

Meanwhile, upstate in the 4th U.S. House District, State Senator William Timmons from Greenville defeated former State Senator Lee Bright from Spartanburg for the seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy.

Democrats chose as his opponent Brandon Brown, a college administrator from Greenville who defeated Doris Lee Turner, a Greenville tax accountant.

Timmons took 54 percent to 46 percent for Bright, who came out on top in the first round of voting June 12. Brown beat Turner 62 percent to 38 percent.

Timmons will be a prohibitive favorite in the fall in the heavily Republican district.

McMaster, while lieutenant governor, was the first statewide elected official in the country to endorse Trump in 2016. The president returned the favor by making a high-profile election-eve appearance on his behalf in Columbia.  Vice President Mike Pence also came to the Palmetto State to campaign for McMaster.

In his victory speech, McMaster touted his special relationship with Trump.

“Our team extends from the White House to the Statehouse to your house, and that’s the most powerful team there is,” he said. “We going to keep on winning, winning, winning in South Carolina.”

McMaster, who has spent 11 years in statewide office as attorney general, lieutenant governor and governor, took over as the state’s chief executive in 2017 after Haley, who was then governor, was nominated and confirmed as Trump’s U.N. ambassador.

John Warren

Warren, a former Marine officer who owns a mortgage company in Greenville, was making his first bid for office, casting himself as a conservative outsider.

Despite being endorsed by the third and fourth place finishers in the first primary round and running strong in the Upstate and Charleston, he could not overcome McMaster’s margins across the rest of the state.


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