At $21.5M, gover­nor’s race most ex­pen­sive in his­tory

The Herald (Rock Hill) - - Front Page - BY TOM BAR­TON tbar­[email protected]­

Backed by busi­ness, Repub­li­can S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster out­raised and out­spent his Demo­cratic ri­val nearly 2 to 1 to win his first full term, ac­cord­ing to newly filed cam­paign dis­clo­sure re­ports.

With more than $20 mil­lion raised and spent, the June pri­maries and Novem­ber gen­eral elec­tion for gover­nor were the most ex­pen­sive statewide race in S.C. his­tory.

McMaster of Columbia and Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette of Trav­el­ers Rest were sworn in to of­fice Wed­nes­day after de­feat­ing for­mer state Rep. Smith, D-Columbia, and his run­ning mate, state Rep. Mandy Pow­ers Nor­rell, DLan­caster, in the Nov. 6 gen­eral elec­tion.

McMaster raised more than $626,000 in the last quar­ter of 2018 and spent nearly $2.6 mil­lion in the same pe­riod. He also made a $100,000 per­sonal loan to his cam­paign about a week be­fore the elec­tion.

Cam­paign spokes­woman Caro­line An­deregg said the loan was needed to help with cash flow as pledges ar­rived.

McMaster’s cam­paign re­paid the loan on Nov. 19, ac­cord­ing to cam­paign fil­ings re­leased Thurs­day.

Over­all, McMaster raised more than $8 mil­lion in the race for gover­nor, about $400,000 shy of the state record set by then-Gov. Nikki Ha­ley in her 2014 re-elec­tion.

Smith and Nor­rell raised more than $317,000 in the last quar­ter of 2018 and more than $3.1 mil­lion over­all in their bid to wrest back the gover­nor’s of­fice from Repub­li­cans for the first time in two decades.

Other Demo­cratic and GOP can­di­dates in the June pri­maries spent mil­lions more.

Much of Smith’s con­tri­bu­tions came from small­dol­lar donors, in­clud­ing a $500 con­tri­bu­tion from Os­car-win­ning ac­tor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Al­li­son. “All in the Fam­ily” ac­tor and Hol­ly­wood di­rec­tor Rob Reiner gave Smith $2,000, and pro­ducer Nor­man Lear and his wife, Lyn, gave the Demo­crat $1,000.

Smith’s av­er­age con­tri­bu­tion was roughly $159 from nearly 2,000 donors for the pe­riod from Oct. 17 to Jan. 10.

That com­pares to an av­er­age con­tri­bu­tion of more than $1,200 dur­ing the quar­ter from more than 500 donors to McMaster, who re­ceived more help from busi­nesses dur­ing the cam­paign, in­clud­ing from auto, util­ity, man­u­fac­tur­ing, health care and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies and groups.

The con­tri­bu­tions to both cam­paigns came over­whelm­ingly from in­side South Carolina. How­ever, Demo­crat Smith raised a greater per­cent­age of his cam­paign war chest within the state. Of the money Smith raised in the last quar­ter, about 85 per­cent came from S.C. in­di­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies.

“Our cam­paign was pow­ered by the peo­ple of South Carolina, from start to fin­ish,” Smith said in a state­ment. “We re­main hum­bled by the out­pour­ing of sup­port for our pos­i­tive vi­sion for our state.

“The out­come wasn’t what we’d hoped for, but there is no doubt that there was and is wide sup­port for the ideas we ran on. Thou­sands of South Carolini­ans stepped up and put their money where their hopes were.”

In the last quar­ter, Smith’s cam­paign spent more than $661,000, for a to­tal of more than $1.8 mil­lion in the gen­eral elec­tion pe­riod.

Smith won the June 12 Demo­cratic pri­mary for gover­nor in a three-way race, while McMaster was pulled into a runoff fol­low­ing a bit­ter five-way GOP pri­mary.

Greenville busi­ness­man John War­ren pumped more than $3.3 mil­lion into his largely self-fi­nanced ef­fort to win the GOP nom­i­na­tion. Over­all, War­ren — a Ma­rine vet­eran who founded a real es­tate lend­ing firm — raised $4.1 mil­lion from donors and his own bank ac­count for his un­suc­cess­ful ef­fort to un­seat McMaster, ac­cord­ing to cam­paign fil­ings.

Over­all, more than $21.5 mil­lion was raised dur­ing the 2018 elec­tion cy­cle, in­clud­ing the June pri­maries, sur­pass­ing the pre­vi­ous record set in 2010.

The can­di­dates for gover­nor raised more than $17 mil­lion for the 2010 elec­tion cy­cle, when then­state Rep. Nikki Ha­ley, R-Lexington, staged an upset vic­tory.

TIM DO­MINICK tdo­[email protected]­

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and his run­ning mate Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette cel­e­brate after they won the elec­tion on Nov. 6.

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