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McMaster, Cunningham to face off in race for governor of South Carolina

Incumbent Henry McMaster will face off against Democrat Joe Cunningham in November.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Incumbent governor Henry McMaster has won the Republican nomination for governor in South Carolina's primary election while Joe Cunningham won the Democratic nomination, according to the Associated Press.

Full 2022 South Carolina Primary Election Results

On the Republican side, incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster is seeking a second elected term in office. His primary opponent was Vietnam veteran and postal worker Harrison Musselwhite. 

Democrats had several people on the ballot: Joe Cunningham, Mia McLeod, Carlton Boyd, Calvin McMillan and William Williams.

While McMaster was the heavy favorite to win his race, the Democratic side was more competitive, led by Cunningham and McLeod. Cunningham is a former U.S. Congressman from Charleston best known for his upset win in the 2018 Election, flipping a House seat that had been in GOP hands for over 40 years. He’d lose the seat two years later. McLeod is a veteran member of the South Carolina General Assembly, representing a state senate district that runs from northern Richland County into Kershaw County.

In the weeks leading up to the race, Cunningham ran TV commercials to promote his campaign, while the others in the contest did not. He, McLeod, and Boyd did meet in one televised debate held last Friday, days before the election, but also after many people had begun to participate in early voting.

No Democrat has won a governor’s race since 1998 and the party hasn’t won any statewide race since capturing the education superintendent post back in 2006.

McMaster has been governor since January of 2017, when he—at the time the lieutenant governor--ascended to the office after Gov. Nikki Haley took a job as the U.N. Ambassador in the Trump Administration. He then easily won election in November of 2018.

If he were to win re-election, and serve out his full term, he’d be in the longest-serving governor in state history, with 10 years at the helm of the state. Governors are constitutionally limited to two four-year terms.

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