Politics & Government

March 19, 2014

Mike Campbell running for Lt. Gov., Henry McMaster could join

The son of the late Republican Gov. Carroll Campbell, filed Wednesday for the lieutenant governor’s race. Former Republican S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster also is likely to run, his political consultant said.

The lieutenant governor’s race added the son of a South Carolina political legend and could attract a Palmetto political veteran.

Mike Campbell, son of the late Republican Gov. Carroll Campbell, filed Wednesday. Former Republican S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster also is likely to run, his political consultant said.

The pair have run unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor against incumbents. Campbell lost in a runoff to Republican Andre Bauer in 2006, while McMaster was defeated by Democrat Nick Theodore in 1990.

Republican Charleston developer Pat McKinney, who has close ties to Gov. Nikki Haley, also has filed. State Rep. Bakari Sellers, a Denmark attorney, is the only Democrat to file so far.

This year’s election is the last time the lieutenant governor will run as a standalone office in South Carolina. Starting in 2018, the governor and lieutenant governor will run on the same ticket.

Republican Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, a former Senate president pro tempore who was appointed to the seat after Ken Ard’s 2012 resignation, chose not to seek election to a four-year term to concentrate on efforts to become president at his alma mater, the College of Charleston.

Campbell said he would not have run against McConnell.

With the lieutenant governor overseeing the Office on Aging, Campbell said his family understands the needs of aiding the elderly, especially those suffering from Alzheimer’s, which his father suffered from before dying in 2005. He wants to develop programs to aid caregivers to Alzheimer’s patients.

Campbell also would like to assist in economic development in office, which other candidates also suggested. “That was the hallmark of my dad’s administration,” he said.

But Campbell wants to advocate for small businesses in economic development. He works as a business consultant in Columbia and operates a firm that makes tools for stone fabricators.

Campbell said he built a base of supporters from his run for lieutenant governor eight years ago and serving as state chairman for a pair of presidential campaigns – Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Jon Huntsman in 2012. He also worked for eventual 2012 S.C. GOP primary winner Newt Gingrich after Huntsman dropped out.

“I continued those relationships,” he said. “I don’t need to come into the State House and have to introduce myself.”

McKinney, Campbell and McMaster all have ties to Haley.

McKinney worked for her transition team, and she appointed him to the State Ports Authority and her foundation boards.

Campbell said he has backed Haley since her days as a state representative. He spoke at the ceremony when the governor signed a government restructuring bill at the State House last month.

“She is gracious in the way she honors my dad,” he said. “She holds him up as kind of a mentor.”

McMaster, 66, last ran for office in an unsuccessful Republican bid for governor in 2010. But he threw his support behind eventual winner Gov. Nikki Haley. He co-chaired the governor’s ethics reform task force last year. She appointed him to the S.C. Ports Authority board.

McMaster is interested in getting involved in public service again after three years out of elected office, said Richard Quinn, McMaster’s political consultant. He opened a private law practice after his gubernatorial run.

McMaster could file in a few days, Quinn said. Efforts to reach McMaster were unsuccessful Wednesday.

He was attorney general from 2003-11 after an eight-year stint as chairman of the S.C. Republican Party. He served as U.S. attorney for South Carolina from 1981-85. McMaster ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate against Democrat Fritz Hollings in 1986.

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