McMaster looks for record run as South Carolina governor

Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 3:54 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 14, 2022 at 4:27 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - South Carolina’s primary Tuesday will determine whether Republican Gov. Henry McMaster gets to run for a second full term and possibly become the longest-serving governor in the state’s history.

McMaster faces one candidate for the Republican nomination for governor: Harrison Musselwhite, a trucker and former businessman.

The state’s term limit on the governor’s office would allow a governor to be elected into the role twice. But McMaster became governor in January 2017 when then-Gov. Nikki Haley resigned halfway into her second term to accept a job as Ambassador to the United Nations under then-President Donald Trump.

McMaster completed the remainder of Haley’s second term and was then elected to his first full term as governor in 2018.

But on the Democratic side, five candidates are seeking the nomination: former U.S. House member Joe Cunningham, state Sen. Mia McLeod, health care administrator Carlton Boyd, barber and musician Calvin “CJ Mack” McMillan and Vietnam veteran and former postal worker William H. “Cowboy” Williams.

Cunningham and McLeod have raised much more money than any of their opponents.

Cunningham defeated Republican hopeful Katie Arrington in 2018 to become the first Democrat to flip a U.S. House seat from Republicans in the state since 1986. But Nancy Mace defeated Cunningham in his re-election bid in 2020.

McLeod filed to run for governor in March 2021 on the same day McMaster filed to run for re-election. Cunningham announced his run for governor in April 2021.

If McLeod were to win the Democratic primary and defeat McMaster in November, she would stand to become the first Black female governor in U.S. history.

Polls for Tuesday’s primary remain open until 7 p.m.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.