A S.C. Democrat has set aside some money to run for governor next year.
(Finally, you might say.)
S.C. House Rep. James Smith, D-Richland, recently reported to state ethics officials that he had opened a campaign account to run for governor.
Smith’s initial campaign contribution of $500 — from Smith himself – is small, but it’s a start, the Democrat said Thursday when contacted by The State.
“I don't think we can win a race on $500,” Smith said, adding, in what has been his position for months, that he has not made any official decision yet about whether he will run. “It's another step in a deliberate process of making a decision to seek to serve South Carolina in this way.”
As Smith knows, running for governor will cost more than $500.
The last Democrat to run for the post — state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw — spent almost $3 million in his unsuccessful 2014 campaign for governor. His GOP opponent, Gov. Nikki Haley, spent more than $8 million.
No Democrat has been elected governor of South Carolina since 1998, and none officially has announced plans to run next year.
Meanwhile, on the Republican side, four candidates are in: S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster, Charleston lawyer Catherine Templeton, Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant of Anderson and former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill of Williamsburg.
At least in fundraising, the frontrunners in the GOP’s primary contest, next June, are McMaster and Templeton.
McMaster, who became governor in January when then-Gov. Nikki Haley resigned to join the Trump administration, has raised about $1.8 million. Templeton, a former Haley Cabinet member, has raised about $1.5 million.