South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster, who served as the state’s U.S. Attorney from 1981 to 1985, on Monday announced he is running for governor, The Columbia State reported today. While the announcement wasn’t official until now, McMaster, a Republican, for months has been raising money and making public appearances in preparation for his 2010 run.
In his video announcement, McMaster said that South Carolinians do not trust their government. He said, “There’s been too much dishonesty and too many scandals.” While he did not specifically direct these comments at Gov. Mark Sanford, they appeared to be in reference to him, The State reported. Earlier this summer, Sanford’s whereabouts were unknown to his staff and family, while he visited his Argentinean mistress. Subsequently, there have been inquirers into whether Sanford improperly used taxpayer money including to pay for personal trips.
Although McMaster is considered a front runner by some, as he already has been elected to a statewide office, he recently has been the subject of partisan criticism for not being more aggressive in investigating Stanford’s possible misuse of public funds. In addition, McMaster has lost elections before, including a 1990 run for lieutenant governor and a 1986 race for U.S. Senate against then-Sen. Fritz Hollings (D).
The State reports that McMaster’s main Republican challengers includes U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer and state Rep. Nikki Haley.
McMaster’s candidacy announcement: