South Carolina governor race: Who are the candidates?

President Trump headed to South Carolina Monday where he lent his support for Gov. Henry McMaster’s re-election campaign.

McMaster was elevated to his position after former Gov. Nikki Haley was tapped to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

“He’s a terrific person, terrific man. He works so hard,” Trump said at a closed-door fundraiser for him.

Here’s a look at the candidates for the 2018 gubernatorial race.


Gov. Henry McMaster

President Donald Trump is heading to South Carolina Monday in an effort to boost Gov. Henry McMaster’s reelection campaign.  (Reuters/Joshua Roberts)

McMaster, 70, was reportedly the first South Carolina official who endorsed Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. He was the state’s lieutenant governor for two years before he assumed the governorship in January.

McMaster also served as the state’s attorney general – the first attorney general to be appointed by former President Ronald Regan, according to his biography. In that position, he investigated international drug smuggling and domestic violence.

He is married with two children.

Catherine Templeton

Catherine Templeton, 46, is a former state health department director – and she’s never run for office before, she boasts on her campaign website.

Templeton is anti-union and reportedly was considered for Labor Secretary. She ignited controversy in August when she said she was “proud of the Confederacy.”

As governor, Templeton said she would tackle the Palmetto State’s large problem with domestic violence by putting “families first through the church, our schools and our communities.” She also is anti-abortion, a fiscal conservative and will make the state’s infrastructure – which includes fixing the state’s roads – her first priority, according to her campaign website.

Former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill

The state’s former lieutenant governor, Yancey McGill, 65, also is a former Democrat. He told The State newspaper that he switched parties before he announced his bid for governor because he had “backed a lot of conservative issues over the years,” including anti-abortion policies.

He is a former state senator and worked as the state director of the South Carolina Office on Aging for eight months.

As governor, McGill would focus on ethics reform, fixing South Carolina’s roads and the quality of life for senior citizens, according to his campaign website.

McGill is from Kingstree, S.C., where he was once mayor.

Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant

Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant, a South Carolina gubernatorial candidate, founded a libertarian caucus when he was a state senator.  (South Carolina Lieutenant Governor office)

Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant, 50, managed a family pharmacy with his father and brothers in Anderson, S.C.

As a state senator, Bryant founded the libertarian “William Wallace Caucus,” The State reported. In the senate, he repeatedly pushed for anti-abortion, school choice and traditional marriage legislation.

Should he be elected governor, Bryant has promised to work for health care reform, tax reform and care for senior citizens, according to his campaign website.


Phil Noble

Phil Noble, a longtime Democratic activist, is a business and technology consultant from Charleston.  (Envision SC)

A business and technology consultant from Charleston, S.C., Phil Noble, 66, announced his candidacy last week. He is a longtime Democratic activist and was the president of the nonprofit South Carolina New Democrats, according to Cola Daily.

He also founded three nonprofits in the state, according to his campaign website: The Palmetto Project, One Laptop Per Child South Carolina and World Class Scholars. He has also served on multiple collegiate advisory boards, including Clemson, University of South Carolina and College of Charleston.

James Smith

South Carolina state Rep. James Smith is a veteran.  (

State Rep. James Smith, is a major in the South Carolina Army National Guard and a combat veteran.

He also is a small business owner and attorney in Columbia, S.C., his campaign website said.

Smith, 50, worked “side by side with Afghans to enforce the rule of law” and “fought the Taliban head on,” according to his website. He received the Bronze Star, Combat Infantryman’s Badge and Purple Heart.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @K_Schallhorn.

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