State Rep. Dan Hamilton, R-Greenville, on Monday said S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster had no knowledge of an alleged effort by supporters who floated the idea the state lawmaker stall a GOP runoff in an Upstate race for the U.S. House.
Hamilton on Monday said he called McMaster “to reiterate to him that I did not believe he was personally aware of any conversation related to a potential lawsuit in the (U.S. House’s) 4th District race.”
“I expressed regret that this story has become a distraction in the campaign, and that the press conference Friday was only intended to announce the endorsements for John Warren,” Hamilton said via text message. “I did not apologize for answering questions from reporters truthfully.”
During a Friday news conference in which he endorsed Warren, Hamilton said unidentified individuals approached him about protesting the results of last week's GOP primary for the 4th District seat in the U.S. House.
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Hamilton did not provide the names of the people he said contacted his campaign. But Hamilton said the individuals were not associated with the McMaster campaign.
The protest idea "was a nonstarter," Hamilton said after the news conference. "It was nothing we took seriously. It was an idea that was floated ... by people just friendly to him (McMaster), who were overeager to see him win."
Hamilton finished third in the 4th District primary, within 1 percent of second place. The closeness of the race sent it into an automatic recount.
Warren went after McMaster on Friday, insinuating the governor's representatives tried to pressure a state lawmaker into filing a protest painted as a ploy to suppress the Upstate vote in the June 26 GOP primary runoff for S.C. governor between Warren and McMaster.
“That, of course, is total nonsense,” McMaster said Monday responding to a reporter’s question during a campaign stop in Spartanburg. “There’s not a bit of truth to it. … All I ask the candidates to do is stick to the truth. Let’s just stick to the truth.”