For months, Republican Catherine Templeton has been campaigning for governor as a self-proclaimed conservative political outsider.
On Monday, the Charleston attorney’s campaign officially unveiled her “conservative values platform.”
The platform touches on six issues: respecting the flag and national anthem, protecting the state’s history, protecting “home rule,” passing “constitutional carry,” reducing abortions and closing the state’s primaries so that only party members can vote
Templeton, who was a Cabinet director under former S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley, touched on all six issues during a speech at the First Monday Club in Greenville.
In her challenge to Republican Gov. Henry McMaster for the GOP nomination, Templeton has been trying to cast herself as the true conservative. At times, that has forced the Charleston lawyer to stretch.
Before the Super Bowl, for instance, McMaster suggested South Carolinians watching the game should stand up during the national anthem, a response to the season-long controversy over some players kneeling in protest of police brutality. Templeton countered they shouldn’t watch the game.
Others in the GOP field also can claim equally conservative views on the issues. For instance, the three other GOP candidates – McMaster, Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant of Anderson and former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill of Williamsburg – favor defining life as starting at conception, which effectively would outlaw abortion.
Templeton said South Carolinians should not have to pay a fee to the government to carry a concealed weapon. Instead, she says carrying a concealed weapon is a constitutional right, and part of “our our God-given right to protect ourselves and our families.”
“When I worked for Gov. Haley, SLED suggested I carry to protect myself from all the entrenched bureaucrats I fired,” Templeton said Monday. “I still carry today because I am not finished doing the right thing, but as a mother and responsible gun owner, I think it is government overreach to require us to pay a fee to the government … to carry.”
On the issue of abortion, Templeton said, if elected, she would sign any legislation to reduce the number of abortions.
Templeton grew emotional, personalizing the issue as her eyes welled up, greenvilleonline.com reported.
“When doctors told us our twins may be in danger, Morgan and I trusted God’s will for their lives over all else,” Templeton said, referring to her husband. “So I support the Personhood Bill, and anything else that reduces the number of abortions.”
Templeton said she supports legislation protecting South Carolina’s historical monuments from being torn down, adding she wouldn’t bow to pressure to be politically correct.
“I won’t sanitize history for the sake of political correctness,” Templeton said. “It is what we do with our history going forward that is critical.”
Templeton said she would require the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner” at state-funded athletic events. That has been something championed by both President Donald Trump and McMaster.
“You just stand up – out of respect for our country and the men and women who fought to give you the right to freedom,” Templeton said.
Templeton also inserted the Pledge of Allegiance into the debate. She said she would push for legislation requiring entities that get public funds to start public events by reciting the pledge.
“I believe that groups receiving our tax dollars should stand for the pledge when they are conducting public business,” Templeton said.
Templeton also discussed protecting the integrity of elections. The best way to do that, she said, is by closing South Carolina’s primaries.
“We are under attack from the Democrats – nationally,” Templeton said. “In fact, personally, the Democratic Governors Association has released press hits on me. … It is critical that we only let conservatives vote in a Republican primary and stop the manipulation from the enemies of conservatism.”
Three Democrats – Charleston businessman Phil Noble, state Rep. James Smith of Columbia and Florence attorney Marguerite Willis – also are running for governor.