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Tags: election | 2022 | south carolina | governor | henry mcmaster | joe cunningham

Gov. McMaster, Dem Cunningham Match Up in SC Gubernatorial Race

henry mcmaster speaks during a campaign rally
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (AP)

Tuesday, 14 June 2022 10:53 PM EDT

Republican South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster won his party's nomination for a second full term Tuesday, and will face Democrat Joe Cunningham in November's gubernatorial election.

If McMaster wins the general election in November and completes the term, he will become the longest-serving governor in the state's history.

The governor defeated Harrison Musselwhite, a trucker and former businessman who said he was running to allow open carry of guns, prevent any government vaccine mandates and eliminate state income taxes.

McMaster mostly let his governing do his campaigning, reminding voters how he tried to carefully tailor COVID-19 restrictions when the pandemic started and how the state’s economy is booming while the Democratic administration in Washington struggles with inflation.

"South Carolina is on the course now to be at the top of the world," McMaster said Tuesday at his victory party.

He has raised $5 million for his reelection bid.

Governors in South Carolina are limited to two four-year terms, but if McMaster wins the primary and November's election, he will have the chance to serve an unprecedented 10 years in office. That is because he automatically ascended to the role from his lieutenant governor seat in January 2017 when Nikki Haley resigned to take a job in then-President Donald Trump's administration. McMaster served out Haley's last two years before getting elected in his own right in 2018.

"I want to thank you again for this great victory tonight. And we're looking for one more," said McMaster, who during his four decades in politics also won races for attorney general and lieutenant governor and made an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate.

Former U.S. House member Joe Cunningham defeated four Democrats in the other primary, including state Sen. Mia McLeod, healthcare administrator Carlton Boyd, barber and musician Calvin "CJ Mack" McMillan and Vietnam veteran and former postal worker William H. "Cowboy" Williams.

Most of the attention focused Cunningham and McLeod, who have also raised the most money. Cunningham received $1.8 million, while McLeod had taken in about $500,000.

Both candidates have spent time in local party gatherings, trying to generate grassroots support and emphasizing their differences with McMaster instead of each other. In their one debate Friday after early voting ended, Cunningham and McLeod again spent more time targeting the Republican governor than they did their three Democrat opponents — only one of whom answered the invitation to debate.

McLeod also had a personal tiff on Twitter with Democratic House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, suggesting infidelity and nepotism after Rutherford endorsed Cunningham and said McLeod had done little in her 10 years in the General Assembly.

McLeod often introduces herself as the first Black woman to run for governor in South Carolina, though she says her main purpose for running isn't to make history, but to make a difference. She said South Carolina needs an alternative to the string of "Republican Light" Democrat men who have run and lost the past five gubernatorial races.

Cunningham has campaigned with a number of splashy promises such as legalizing sports gambling and recreational marijuana use.

He insisted he was the best positioned to beat McMaster. Cunningham cited his ideas and youthfulness, and has repeatedly highlighted the 35-year age gap between him and the governor. Cunningham is 40. McMaster is 75.

Cunningham also contends that anything the incumbent governor hopes to accomplish with four more years of public service should have been done in his first four decades as a politician.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Politics
Republican South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster won his party's nomination for a second full term Tuesday, and will face Democrat Joe Cunningham in November's gubernatorial election.
election, 2022, south carolina, governor, henry mcmaster, joe cunningham
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2022-53-14
Tuesday, 14 June 2022 10:53 PM
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