Democratic candidates for SC governor debate Sunday night

Democratic candidates for SC governor debate Sunday night

TRAVELERS REST, SC (WCSC/WYFF) - Two of the three Democratic candidates for governor of South Carolina took part in a debate Sunday night in the Upstate.

Phil Noble and Marguerite Willis took questions at the Younts Center of Furman University.

Rep. James Smith, who is also running for governor, said he decided to attend a retreat in Chicago for Democrats running for office. Smith says he never fully committed to the debate and sees it as a simple scheduling conflict, according to Bruce Barkley, news director at WYFF-TV in Greenville, which is hosting the debate.

Noble, a Greenville native, is a business and technology consultant from Charleston and founder of three statewide nonprofit initiatives, including the Palmetto Project, One Laptop Per Child South Carolina and World Class Scholars, his website states.

Willis, a Greenville native, has never before sought elected office, according to her website. She has been a member of a major Columbia-based law firm and is the former first lady of Florence, where her husband, Frank, served as mayor.

Smith, a Columbia native, is a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, a major in the SC Army National Guard and a business owner and practicing attorney in Columbia, his website states.

Republican candidates include current Gov. Henry McMaster, current Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant, former Democratic Lt. Gov. and state Sen. Yancey McGill, attorney and former director of DHEC and the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Catherine Templeton, and businessman John Warren.

If re-elected, McMaster will serve his first full term as governor, since he stepped into that role in January 2017 when then-Gov. Nikki Haley stepped down to become ambassador to the United Nations for the Donald Trump Administration.

A Republican debate will be held on May 29 at the McAlister Auditorium. A third debate for the general election will be announced this summer.

The election will take place on Nov. 6.

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