The Buzz

January 6, 2014

ELECTION 2014: Mike Campbell weighing run for lieutenant governor

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to

Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell's retirement could be an opportunity for the son of one of South Carolina's most prominent Republican families.

Mike Campbell, son of the late Gov. Carroll Campbell, says he is considering a run for the state's No. 2 position.

"It’s something I’m definitely giving some consideration to," Campbell said. "I feel like we still have a pretty solid state network and statewide base that if it was something we decided to pull the trigger on that there would be some support that would still be out there."

Campbell ran for lieutenant governor in 2006, where he won 45 percent of the vote in the Republican primary. But Campbell lost two weeks later in a runoff to Andre Bauer, who would go on to serve two terms as the state's lieutenant governor.

Since then, Campbell has stayed active in Republican politics. In 2008, he was the state chairman for Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign, where the former Arkansas governor finished second to eventual Republican nominee John McCain. In 2012, Huckabee was the state chairman for former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman's presidential campaign. After Huntsman withdrew, Campbell worked on the campaign of Newt Gingrich, would would go on to win South Carolina's Republican presidential primary.

If he decides to run, Campbell would be the second Republican in the race. Charleston developer Pat McKinney has already announced his candidacy, hiring veteran GOP consultant Walter Whetsell to run his campaign. State Rep. Bakari Sellers of Bamberg is the only Democrat to declare for the race so far.

Whoever wins would only be able to serve one term. Beginning in 2018, voters will elect a governor and lieutenant governor on the same ticket, just like in presidential elections. But Campbell said that will not factor into his decision.

"I still believe that there are things that can be done with that office that have not been previously done," he said. "I think that you could really make that position play a stronger role for the state, maybe possibly being an ambassador for the state and helping assist the governor with economic development."

McKinney, the other Republican in the race, has strong ties to Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, who is running for reelection this year. McKinney is a member of Haley's reelection finance team, and he is on the board of Haley's foundation. Haley also appointed McKinney to the State Ports Authority.

But Campbell said he has a good relationship with Haley and could work well with her if both are elected.

"Nikki has done an exceptional job with creating economic development and economic opportunity in the state and really has tried to use dad as a role model for her governorship to pick up where he left off in terms of economic development and job creation," Campbell said. "No question I would work well with her."

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