In what has become most expensive statewide race in S.C. history, Republican Gov. Henry McMaster holds a more than $249,000 fundraising edge over Democrat James Smith with about two weeks to go until the Nov. 6 election.
McMaster, who is running for his first full term as governor, raised more than $1.66 million between July 1 and Oct. 22.
That compares to more than $1.44 million raised by Smith between July 1 and Oct. 16.
McMaster’s campaign spent about $1.27 million during that period. Combined with more than $220,000 cash on hand at the start of the filing period, McMaster’s was left with $611,693 available to spend in the campaign’s final weeks.
Smith had $362,347 in cash on hand after his campaign spent more than $1.2 million during the period. He had $127,663 in cash to start the period.
The contributions to both campaigns came overwhelmingly from inside South Carolina. About 94 percent of Smith’s more than $1.4 million quarterly total came from S.C. donors. McMaster raised 83 percent of his more than $1.6 million quarterly total within the Palmetto State.
Much of Smith’s contributions came from small-dollar donors. His average contribution was roughly $200 from more than 4,000 donors. That compares to an average contribution of more than $1,000 from less than half that number of donors to McMaster, who has received more help from businesses.
The governor received $3,500 each from Koch Industries — an oil, gas and manufacturing behemoth owned by wealthy, conservative donors Charles and David Koch — Anheuser Busch and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.
Walmart also contributed to McMaster’s campaign, along with political action committees linked to Grand Strand golf, restaurant and lodging interests, the trucking industry, S.C. Realtors, cash advance centers, convenience store owners and Duke Energy.
Smith also received $3,500 from BueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, as well as $3,500 from California billionaire Tom Steyer, who has launched a campaign to impeach President Donald Trump, a close ally of Republican McMaster.
“To us, he’s just a guy who invests in good government,” Smith’s campaign said.
Political action committees tied to Planned Parenthood; the S.C. AFL-CIO, which represents labor unions in the state; and SC Equality PAC, an LGBT civil rights group, also contributed to Smith’s campaign.
The governor’s race has become the most expensive in S.C. history.
More than $20 million has been raised thus far during the 2018 election cycle, including the June primaries, surpassing the previous record set in 2010. The 2010 candidates for governor raised more than $17 million for their election cycle, when then-state Rep. Nikki Haley, R-Lexington, staged an upset victory.
Year to date, McMaster has raised more than $7.3 million and spent more than $6.7 million in the race for governor. Smith has raised nearly $2.9 million and spent more than $2.5 million. Other Democratic and GOP candidates in the June primaries spent millions more.
Smith won the June 12 Democratic primary for governor in a three-way race, while McMaster was pulled into a runoff following a bitter five-way GOP primary.
Here’s a look at the largest contributors to each candidate made during the primary, runoff and general election campaigns, based on totals from individuals, corporations and subsidiaries that share the same address.
- $151,484 from Greenville chief executive and self-proclaimed “free-market capitalist” C. Dan Adams, who bundled the contributions using various companies
- $100,000 from the S.C. Republican Party
- $98,000 from a commercial real estate firm run by Bill Stern, chairman of the S.C. Ports Authority
- $56,000 from a Missouri health-care chief executive who owns a health-maintenance organization operating in South Carolina
- $22,800 from Columbia entrepreneurs Lawrence and Sandra McGuckin
- $21,450 from Smith’s parents, James Smith Sr. and Nina Smith, and their real estate firm, Shannon Development LLC
- $17,333 from Ramsdale Family Law in Mount Pleasant, headed by Marie-Louise Ramsdale, a former aide to the state’s last Democratic governor, Jim Hodges
- $17,500 from Stonemark Management, an Atlanta real estate investment firm with apartment complexes in the state