- Associated Press - Thursday, April 6, 2017

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Former labor and public health chief Catherine Templeton has posted her first fundraising figures for her 2018 gubernatorial bid, raising more than $700,000 in the first quarter of this year, according to online data posted Thursday on the State Ethics Commission’s website.

The haul, according to the Republican’s campaign and a top GOP operative, is more than the state’s current and previous two governors raised in that same time period before they ran as incumbents.

That includes Gov. Henry McMaster, who first sought the seat in 2010 and was elevated to the state’s top slot earlier this year when Nikki Haley became U.N. ambassador. The Republican is running again next year and, according to Ethics, has posted more than $153,000 in contributions for the race.

The state database shows Yancey McGill, a former state lawmaker who served as lieutenant governor following the departure of Glenn McConnell to lead the College of Charleston, has nearly $150,000 on hand as of the January filing period.

No Democrats have declared their candidacy for next year’s contest.

An anti-union attorney, Templeton served Haley as head of the state’s labor and public health departments. Templeton’s overall haul, including in-kind contributions, includes a $3,500 personal contribution. She has spent a minimal amount thus far, with more than $691,000 cash on hand, according to the filing.

Templeton, who has never sought elected office, announced her official entry into the race Tuesday, initially delaying the rollout after McMaster was elevated to governor upon Haley’s confirmation to the U.N.

The move allows McMaster to run as an incumbent in what had been anticipated to be a wide-open race. The establishment Republican went outside those boundaries early last year when he became the nation’s first statewide officeholder to back Donald Trump for president. The move stunned political observers, but McMaster’s support never wavered - and ultimately paid off with Trump’s nomination of Haley clearing McMaster’s pathway to the long-sought governor’s office.

Catherine has raised more than Governors Sanford, Haley or McMaster did in their first filings for governor - and they were established politicians, running for an open seat, so it was much easier,” former state GOP chairman Barry Wynn said in a statement provided to The Associated Press. “This is historic.”

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Kinnard can be reached at https://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP. Read more of her work at https://bigstory.ap.org/content/meg-kinnard/


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