He ran against McMaster, but supports his pick for USC president

James Smith, who ran against S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster in the 2018 gubernatorial election, supports the governor’s pick for president of University of South Carolina.

Smith issued a statement Thursday championing the character of former U.S. Military Academy at West Point Superintendent Robert Caslen.

“I belive the character of the person who is being considered for the job has been unfairly maligned,” Smith wrote. “I have had the opportunity to get to know Bob Caslen. He is smart, thoughtful and caring, . He is a proven and visionary leader that could be a great president for our university or any institution.”

Smith, who now works for USC, is far from the first politician to weigh in on USC’s presidential search. However, those who have voiced their opinion have primarily done so along party lines: Republicans have supported McMaster and Caslen while Democrats have opposed them. Smith is the first major S.C. Democrat to publicly support Caslen.

“When it comes to politics, some of us may be blue and some of us red, but we are all garnet and black,” Smith wrote.