After winning a Republican primary runoff, Henry McMaster is starting his November race for S.C. lieutenant governor with less money in the bank than his Democratic opponent, state Rep. Bakari Sellers.
Sellers, a Denmark lawyer who did not face primary opposition, has $194,212 in cash after raising $117,055 from April to June, according to records submitted to the S.C. Ethics Commission late Thursday.
McMaster – an attorney, former S.C. attorney general and state Republican Party chairman – raised $331,144 during 2014’s second quarter, when he defeated three GOP challengers.
That is more than Sellers has raised since joining the race a year ago.
However, the GOP primary battle, including a runoff win over Columbia businessman Mike Campbell, left McMaster with only $69,574 in cash as of June 30.
Both McMaster and Campbell, the son of the late Republican Gov. Carroll Campbell, joined the race in late March.
But the most recent financial filings make it clear Campbell could not match McMaster’s fundraising power. McMaster has raised $558,426 since launching his campaign – seven times more than the $75,155 that Campbell raised.
Sellers, who hopes to give Democrats their first statewide elected officeholder since 2011, has raised $329,589 in the past year.
If elected, Sellers would join Republican Tim Scott or Democrat Joyce Dickerson, who are facing each other in a U.S. Senate race, as the first African-Americans elected to statewide office in South Carolina since Reconstruction.
Democrat Yancey McGill now holds the lieutenant governor’s office, but he was elected by the state Senate to hold S.C.’s No. 2 job only temporarily after Republican Glenn McConnell resigned to become president of the College of Charleston. McGill will remain lieutenant governor until the winner of the November election is sworn in on Jan. 13.
The part-time job’s main responsibilities are overseeing the state Office on Aging and presiding over the state Senate. But both McMaster and Sellers also have pledged to help with economic-development efforts if elected.
This year is the last time the lieutenant governor will be elected as a standalone office in South Carolina. In 2012, voters approved having the governor and lieutenant governor elected on the same ticket starting in 2018.