- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 17, 2017

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A South Carolina House member is formally announcing his bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Columbia Rep. James Smith made his official announcement Tuesday night.

The 50-year-old Columbia native has been in the House since 1997.

Former Gov. Jim Hodges and Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin spoke at Smith’s campaign opening rally. Hodges was the last Democrat to serve as South Carolina governor.

Smith told The Associated Press earlier this month he felt he needed to do all he could for the people of South Carolina.

Charleston consultant Phil Nobel said last week he will also seek the Democratic nomination.

At least four people are seeking the Republican nomination for next year’s election, including Gov. Henry McMaster.

Gubernatorial primaries are set for June 12.

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