S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster has tapped former Gov. Nikki Haley’s political adviser to be his top campaign strategist for his 2018 bid for governor.
Tim Pearson said Friday that he has joined McMaster’s campaign as general consultant.
Pearson helped Haley, now U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, win two races for S.C. governor, worked briefly as her chief of staff and, later, ran a political group that targeted Haley’s foes in the 2016 primaries.
“I have always enjoyed the governor. I think he is a great guy,” said Pearson, who has been consulting for out-of-state corporate clients since Haley resigned in January to join the Trump Administration.
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Pearson’s hiring as top strategist marks a shift for McMaster away from his longtime political consultant, Richard Quinn, recently ensnared in a State House corruption probe. Quinn, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing, could not be reached Friday.
At this time, there are no plans to bring Quinn and his Columbia-based Richard Quinn & Associates on board with the McMaster campaign, Pearson said Friday.
Asked Friday why he is not still working with Quinn, McMaster said in a statement to The State, “We have just begun putting together an expanded team. Additional, former and new team members, and consultants will be added or used as needed.”
McMaster has stood beside Quinn as state investigators have taken an interest in his firm’s business dealings with an indicted state senator and state agencies.
“It’s important to always stick with the facts,” McMaster told The State last week, explaining why he had not distanced himself from RQ&A. “I see no reason to disassociate with institutions or people based on speculation – and not even to the point of allegations.”
Pearson said McMaster’s campaign has two aides on the roster: longtime aide Brad Henry and Caroline Wren, one of U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s fundraising alumni.
McMaster will face at least two opponents in the June 2018 GOP primary for governor — former Haley aide Catherine Templeton, a Charleston lawyer, and former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill.