- Associated Press - Thursday, March 27, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Former Attorney General Henry McMaster filed paperwork Thursday to run for lieutenant governor, four years after his unsuccessful bid for governor. He said he has the experience needed for the state’s No. 2 post.

With McMaster in the race, the primary with the highest-profile candidates will be for a part-time job that pays $46,500. The GOP primary now features two well-known political names and a retired Charleston County developer who has already loaned his campaign $250,000. No primary is expected in the governor’s race.

All three candidates have ties to Gov. Nikki Haley, who is seeking a second term in a rematch against Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Camden. Haley continues to say she’s staying out of the lieutenant governor’s race, which will be the state’s last because in 2018, gubernatorial candidates will pick their running mates.

Still, candidates are touting a team approach.

“The relationship we have is an asset. We agree on the issues,” McMaster said of Haley: If both are elected, “we’ll make a great team.”

McMaster, 66, has been a close ally to Haley since losing to her in a four-way primary in 2010. The two-term attorney general and state GOP chairman had been the front-runner until Haley surged ahead late in the campaign. He then endorsed her in the primary runoff and campaigned with her.

Mike Campbell, 45, is the younger son of the popular late Gov. Carroll Campbell. At a bill signing last month, Haley praised the two-term governor as an amazing and visionary leader whom she “will always try to make proud.” Surrounded by the Campbell family, she asked Mike Campbell to speak.

Pat McKinney, who helped develop Kiawah Island, is a Haley donor and, like McMaster, a Haley appointee to the State Ports Authority. McKinney also sits on the board of her nonprofit, the Original Six Foundation. Both he and McMaster were on the transition team for then Gov.-elect Haley.

McKinney, 64, was the first to announce his candidacy last fall, before Republican Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell decided not to seek election. It is McKinney’s first run for political office.

“I don’t think we need to wait four more years to get a more cooperative spirit” between the state’s top two posts, he told The Associated Press last October.

A fourth GOP candidate with no ties to Haley is Ray Moore, a retired Army chaplain whose platform includes encouraging parents to take their children out of public schools for Christian or home schooling. He filed Tuesday for the job.

McMaster said his work as attorney general and former U.S. attorney for South Carolina, from 1981-85, gives him the knowledge needed to fulfill the lieutenant governor’s two main duties: presiding over the state Senate and overseeing the Office on Aging.

“I know how the legislative process works and the law works and how the budgets work,” he said.

Like Campell, McMaster said he wants to continue McConnell’s outstanding work in advocating for senior issues. In a joint session on Wednesday, McConnell urged legislators to prepare for the oncoming “gray tsunami,” as the state’s senior population is expected to double in 15 years to nearly 2 million.

“We’ve got to get ready for that,” McMaster said, adding he also wants to play a role in economic development. “These next four years will be critical to this state. Now that we’re finally coming out of the Great Recession, the next four years will be like a rocket.”

Both Campbell and McMaster have previously run for lieutenant governor. Campbell lost a primary runoff eight years ago against then-Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer. McMaster ran unsuccessfully in 1990, four years after losing his bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Ernest “Fritz” Hollings.

Filing continues through Sunday.

The only Democrat to announce for lieutenant governor is four-term state Rep. Bakari Sellers, of Denmark. His father, Cleveland Sellers, was the only man imprisoned - and later pardoned - for the 1968 civil rights protest known as the Orangeburg Massacre.

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