Trump’s S.C. supporters not rushing to join his administration

S.C. Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster says he is not seeking a Cabinet position or ambassador’s job in a Trump Administration.

McMaster, who delivered one of the speeches nominating Donald Trump for the presidency at the GOP convention, said he is “not too interested in doing anything in Washington.”

Instead, McMaster, 69, said he hopes to run for S.C. governor in 2018. “I’m much more excited about South Carolina.”

Still, McMaster, a former S.C. attorney general and state GOP chairman, did not totally swear off an administrative gig. “In politics, you never say never.”

Columbia real estate developer Bill Stern, chairman of the Southeast Business Coalition for Trump, also said he was not seeking a Trump Administration post. “I’m very happy with my day job,” said Stern. But, he added, if Trump asked for his help “certainly I would consider.”

Another supporter, state Rep. Jim Merrill, the Berkeley Republican who was Trump’s S.C. campaign manager, had no comment on whether he was interested in a spot in the next administration.

McMaster, who unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination for governor in 2010, said his candidacy would be helped by a Trump presidency. “He and I view the future the same way as do all those people who voted for him,” said McMaster, the first statewide official in the nation to support Trump.

Stern also is considering a bid for governor. If he runs, Stern said he would run a campaign similar to Trump’s. “I would not ask anyone for money. I would self-fund.”

The Republican governor’s race is expected to be crowded. S.C. House Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope, R-York, already has declared for the race, and former Democratic Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill switched political parties to run. Other candidates reportedly interested include: state Sen. Tom Davis of Beaufort County; U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney of Indian Land; former Department of Health and Environmental Control chief Catherine Templeton of Charleston; and Attorney General Alan Wilson of Lexington.

Cassie Cope: 803-771-8657, @cassielcope