Current, former Republican candidates attend GOP unity luncheon post-runoff

Posted by CASSIE COPE on June 25, 2014 

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley delivers her speech as she announces her re-election bid outside the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville last year.

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com Buy Photo

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Current and former Republican candidates attended a post-runoff SC GOP "Unity Luncheon" Wednesday to unite the party heading into the November election.

The GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, former Attorney General Henry McMaster, and his runoff opponent, Mike Campbell, attended the event.

The former candidates in a more contentious race -- S.C. superintendent of education -- also attended.

Molly Spearman, who won the nomination in Tuesday's runoff, said Wednesday was a wonderful day.

Gov. Nikki Haley addressed criticism of Spearman that came up during the primary contest within the Republican Party.

“Those of you that weren’t with her - invite her to your groups, find out what it is that she believes in,” Haley said.

Spearman's runoff challenger Sally Atwater also appeared at the event.

"I'm going to be behind all of our nominees," Atwater said.

Haley complemented the Republican ballot for the fall.

“We now have our dream team, and this is the dream team that is team South Carolina,” said Haley, who is up for re-election in November.

Haley also said McMaster would be a great partner as lieutenant governor and she even commented on her own contest.

“I was actually kind of excited that I was running against a Democrat trial lawyer,” Haley said. “Now I’m really excited because I’m running against two Democrat trial lawyers.”

The jab was aimed at Democratic Sen. Vincent Sheheen of Kershaw and petition candidate Tom Ervin. Ervin, a Greenville lawyer and former legislator and judge, has described himself as an “independent Republican.”

The S.C. Republican Party has threatened legal action against Ervin after asking him to stop calling himself a Republican.

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