Former U.S. Attorney Henry McMaster, and now the state’s attorney general, is one of four candidates seeking the Republican nomination for South Carolina governor in the June primary this year. The deadline for major party candidates to file with the South Carolina State Election Commission was Tuesday.
Three Democrats also will vie for their party’s nomination in a separate primary on the same day.
McMaster, who served as the state’s U.S. Attorney from 1981 to 1985, announced his candidacy last August, but did not formally file his candidacy until Tuesday. In the primary, McMaster will face Rep. Gresham Barrett, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer and state Rep. Nikki Haley.
Hopefuls on the other side of the aisle are state Superintendent of Education Jim Rex and two state senators — Robert Ford and Vincent Sheheen.
The candidates are hoping to fill the open seat currently occupied by Gov. Mark Sanford (R), who is term-limited.
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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:
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Republican South Carolina state Sen. Jake Knotts said he may urge the Justice Department to investigate whether South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford illegally used taxpayer money to finance his visits to his Argentinean mistress, ABC News reported yesterday.
The state senator has pushed the state legislature and South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster to investigate Sanford after the governor admitted to his affair last week, but officials in the legislature and attorney general’s office have said there is nothing to probe. Sanford said he would repay $8,000 for a stop he made to Argentina, which he said was part of a business trip set up by the state.
“When you can’t get results in your own state, there is a justice department in Washington,” Knotts told ABC News. “I don’t want to go that route. I want us to wash our own laundry and clean up our own act.”
Knotts, a longtime Sanford rival, and McMaster are both in the running for the 2010 gubernatorial race.