Columbia, SC (WLTX) - With Nikki Haley now set to become the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, the biggest beneficiary of the move will be Henry McMaster, who's now poised to become governor.
President-Elect Trump announced Wednesday morning that Haley would be his nominee for ambassador, and Haley confirmed she accepted the offer.
Haley said she'll stay on as governor until she's confirmed by the U.S. Senate. McMaster, as lieutenant governor, will take over for Haley, under the rules set forth in the South Carolina Constitution.
"I always expected to finish the remaining two years of my second term as governor," she said in the statement. "Not doing so is difficult because I love serving South Carolina more than anything."
For McMaster, it will be the culmination of a long career in politics and government.
After graduating from law school, McMaster first worked as a legislative assistant to former U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond. He'd go on to practice law, arguing cases at the federal level.
In 1981, President Ronald Reagan named him the U.S. Attorney for South Carolina. He left the job in 1985 after a four-year term.
He then entered politics, winning the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1986. He ultimately lost the general election to the incumbent at the time, Ernest Hollings. He also was the lieutenant governor nominee in 1990, but lost in the general election again.
He was then appointed by Gov. Carroll Campbell to be on the state commission for higher education.
In 1993, McMaster became chair of the South Carolina Republican Party, serving for nine years. During his tenure, the GOP won both chambers of the General Assembly for the first time since Reconstruction, as the formerly solidly Democratic state transitioned into a solidly Republican one.
In 2002, McMaster was elected as attorney general, a position he held for two terms. In 2010, he ran for the GOP nomination for governor, but didn't advance to the runoff. Oddly enough, he then threw his support behind one of the two remaining candidates: Nikki Haley.
In 2014, he was elected lieutenant governor.
During the 2016 GOP primary in February, McMaster made headlines when he became the first statewide official to endorse Donald Trump's candidacy.