McMaster retains governor’s mansion until November vote while Wilson defeats Atwater to move forward
Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – Governor Henry McMaster defeated challenger and businessman John Warren Tuesday to hold on to the governor’s office for now. He’ll now face James Smith, the Democratic nominee, in November’s general election.
Also, Alan Wilson easily retained his position as the Republican candidate for attorney general moving forward into the general election by gaining almost 65% of the votes cast statewide Tuesday. He defeated former Representative Todd Atwater, a fellow Lexington County Republican who decided to take on Wilson, his tenacious mother Roxanne, and his family’s Lexington County “political dynasty”. Wilson will now face Democrat Constance Anastopoulo in the November election for his post.
Warren’s plain spoken, pull no punches, hard charging style just couldn’t overcome McMaster, an iconic South Carolina Republican with years of political experience in various post in Columbia. McMaster also had the backing of President Donald Trump who flew in Monday for a quick rally in support of McMaster at Airport High School.
Depending on who you talked to, Warren’s lack of political experience either hurt or helped. Some were thinking “Trump Two” while others weren’t so enamored; The president didn’t seem to feel it. Lexington County’s popular Senator Katrina Shealy, never one to hold her tongue or mince words, came out against Warren endorsing McMaster for this very reason. She said that in a state like South Carolina where the legislatures, not the governor, really runs things, we needed a man of experience in the big office and mansion that knew how to play the system and that man was McMaster
In the attorney general’s race, Atwater’s lack of courtroom experience was pointed out by the Wilson campaign numerous times both live and in ads. Many Lexington County Republicans were shocked that Atwater even tried this and openly questioned if he knew, or expected something, that everyone else had missed. Plus, Atwater just didn’t have the statewide name recognition that Wilson does, another hill he couldn’t quite get over. In the end, it wasn’t really even close.
In the Democratic runoff for US Congressional District 2, Sean Carrigan of Chapin defeated Annabelle Robinson for a chance to challenge another Lexington County Wilson, AG Alan Wilson’s father Congressman Joe Wilson, in November. This was a bit of a surprise as Robinson handily defeated Carrigan when Phil Black was still in the race on June 12th. Carrigan shouldn’t be jumping up and down just yet. All he’s won is the opportunity to take on an immensely popular long-term congressman in a district that is north of 60% Republican consistently. While a very moderate Democrat might have a prayer of pulling the crossover votes needed to win the district in November, Carrigan doesn’t seem to be that man.
Perhaps we can all pause and catch our breath before moving toward the general election in November. That will be a mid-term at the federal level and it will be interesting to see if the Dems can make any headway across a nation that seems to be doing fairly well with the other party in charge.