S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster and the first lady will be honored at a “Governor’s Ball” fundraiser later this month, according to an invitation obtained by The State.
The ball is slated for March 24 at the Alumni Center at the University of South Carolina, McMaster’s alma mater. Tickets are $250 a couple. Sponsors are encouraged to give $1,000, $2,000 or $3,500.
Billed as a governor’s ball, the event appears to be taking the place of the inaugural ball that normally follows a governor’s election to the statewide office.
McMaster was not elected governor. As S.C. lieutenant governor, he filled the vacancy left when Gov. Nikki Haley resigned to be President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations.
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McMaster’s incumbency appears to be paying off as he raises money for the 2018 governor’s race.
As of the invitation’s printing, 54 sponsors had given $3,500, the highest allowable contribution for an election cycle. When all the sponsors listed on the invitation are added up, the haul for the fundraiser will exceed $240,000.
However, Richard Quinn, McMaster’s political consultant, said the governor’s fundraiser will “do a lot better than that.”
McMaster long has had ambitions to be South Carolina’s governor. The Richland Republican ran for the job in 2010 but came in third in the GOP primary, trailing Haley, then a little-known state representative from Lexington, and then-3rd District U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett.
McMaster will face opposition in the GOP primary in 2018. He reported raising $160,000 for that race immediately after he was sworn into office.
The chairmen of McMaster’s ball are Bill Stern, former S.C. Ports Authority chairman, and Ed McMullen, President Donald Trump’s S.C. campaign chairman.
McMaster was the first statewide official in the country to endorse Trump.