COLUMBIA, S.C. — As Election Day nears, News19 is assembling candidate profiles for statewide offices. Here are the candidates for South Carolina Governor (in alphabetical order):
Joe Cunningham (Democrat): The 40-year-old was born in Caldwell County, Kentucky, and moved to South Carolina to attend College of Charleston. Cunningham’s father is a Vietnam Veteran and retired Kentucky Supreme Court Justice, and his mother operated a publishing company. Cunningham has a Bachelors of Science degree in ocean engineering and a law degree from Northern Kentucky University. He practiced construction law in Charleston before being the first Democrat elected to represent South Carolina’s First Congressional District in over 40 years in 2018. In Congress, Cunningham served on the House Veterans Affairs and Natural Resources committees. Among the bills he helped pass were the Veterans Tele-hearing Modernization Act and Great American Outdoors Act in 2018, and a bipartisan bill banning offshore drilling in 2019. He also helped pass the Charleston gun loophole bill, the For the People Act to get dark money out of politics and end gerrymandering, and supported term limits for politicians.
His platform for South Carolina Governor includes eliminating state income tax, legalizing marijuana and sports betting, raises for teachers, and keeping the government out of personal medical decisions.
Cunningham’s running mate is Lt. Col. Tally Parham Casey, the first female fighter pilot in South Carolina. The former F-16 pilot attached to the SC National Guard’s 157th Fighter Squadron is a veteran of three combat tours over Iraq. Tally is an attorney with over 20 years experience in commercial, securities and health care litigation, and is the CEP of Wyche, PA, in Columbia. She is magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University and graduate of University of Virginia Law School. She has served on the Richland County Airport Commission, Board of Directors of South Carolina’s Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network (WREN), EdVenture Children’s Museum, and SC State Library Foundation.
Henry McMaster (Republican): The 75-year-old is the oldest person to assume the office of governor in the state of South Carolina. McMaster began his career working for US Senator Strom Thurmond and was appointed US attorney for the District of South Carolina by President Ronald Reagan in 1981. During that time, he gained attention for investigating marijuana smuggling along the South Carolina coast during Operation Jackpot. He ran for US Senate in 1986, losing to Fritz Hollings and was defeated in the 1990 race for SC lieutenant governor. From 1993 to 2002, McMaster chaired the South Carolina Republican Party. In 2002, he was elected SC Attorney General, and was reelected to the post in 2006. He entered the Republican primary for governor in 2010 and lost to Nikki Haley. Haley, as governor, appointed McMaster to the SC Ports Authority in 2011. He resigned that position after being elected lieutenant governor to Haley in 2014. After Haley resigned as governor to become the US Ambassador to the United Nations under President Trump, McMaster became governor in 2017. He won a full four-year term in 2018.
The Columbia native received a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of South Carolina in 1969 and a law degree in 1973. He served in the US Army Reserves, honorably discharged in 1975.
Through his connection with Thurmond, McMaster was admitted to practice before the US Supreme Court in 1978.
As of August 2022, McMaster has signed over 600 bills, vetoed 28, and had 19 overridden
His running mate is Pamela Evette. The Ohio native lives in Travelers Rest and holds a degree in Business Administration from Cleveland State University. She is founder and CEO of Quality Business Solutions, a payroll, human resources and office solutions software firm in Travelers Rest. Evette is the first lieutenant governor to be elected on the same ticket as the governor (the election law changed in 2018), and the second female lieutenant governor in the state’s history (Nancy Stevenson served under Richard Riley from 1979-1983).
Bruce Morgan Reeves (Libertarian): The Irmo native has a degree in Urban Planning and Development from Michigan State University and played professional football for the Detroit Lions, Baltimore Colts and Philadelphia Eagles. After his NFL career, Reeves obtained a Masters in Church Administration and a PhD in both Theology and Divinity. He has served as a senior pastor for over 30 years and volunteers for the Department of Youth Services and Department of Juvenile Justice. Reeves founded the Morgan Reeves Community Foundation for abused and troubled children in Irmo and the MB Reeves Community Unity Scholarship Foundation
Reeves’ running mate is Greenville native Jessica Etheridge. Etheridge has been a legal professional in the Upstate for almost 20 years, specializing in real estate property research and transactional work, corporate compliance, and human resources. She cohosts a podcast about raising liberty-minded children called “Parenting Porcupines.”