COLUMBIA, S.C. — Voters in South Carolina have made their pick of who they want to be the next governor of South Carolina between incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster and challengers Joe Cunningham and Morgan Reeves. We have the latest South Carolina governor election results posted here and we’ll be updating those throughout the evening.
We’ll also have live reports from the campaigns of Governor McMaster and Cunningham.
Republican Gov. Henry McMaster of South Carolina has won a historic reelection bid after he faced voters one last time in his long political career.
McMaster, 75, defeated Democrat Joe Cunningham, who repeatedly highlighted the 35-year age gap between the two.
If he completes his second term, McMaster would serve as governor for 10 years, longer than any other executive in the state’s history.
McMaster’s argument for reelection has been simple — if you like what you’ve seen so far, I’ll give you more. He has touted the booming economy and his willingness to fight Democratic President Joe Biden when needed.
This was McMaster’s seventh time asking South Carolina voters to choose him over a Democrat in November. He lost his first two races — including getting just 36% of the vote against U.S. Sen. Ernest “Fritz” Hollings in 1986. He won his last five elections as Republicans took over South Carolina.
A Democrat hasn’t been elected governor in the state since 1998.
Who are the candidates?
As governor, McMaster has tried to position himself as leader focused on job creation. During the Trump Administration, he made sure voters knew he was in lockstep with Donald Trump on key issues; since Joe Biden’s occupied the presidency, he’s opposed the White House on numerous issues, including immigration and COVID policy.
Cunningham, the Democrat in the race, was seeking to break a long, difficult trend in state politics for his party: no Democrat has won the governor’s race since Jim Hodges in 1998. In fact, no Democrat has won state office of any kind since Jim Rex won a term as education superintendent in 2006.
Cunningham had bucked politics once before: in 2018, he flipped the First Congressional District seat along South Carolina’s coast from Republican to Democrat, becoming the first member of his party to win that race in over 40 years. However, he’d lose the seat two years later to Nancy Mace.
During the campaign, Cunningham, who’s 40 years old, had tried to make age an issue, since McMaster is 75. McMaster countered that Cunningham was inexperienced. The two also clashed over marijuana legalization, abortion, and the economy during the campaign.
Reeves, the Libertarian candidate, is a former professional football player who runs a community foundation for troubled youth and also serves as a pastor.