- Associated Press - Friday, June 22, 2018

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday that he and President Donald Trump are grateful for South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster’s early backing, which Pence said helped propel their ticket to victory in 2016.

At a campaign rally in Conway, Pence told a crowd that McMaster’s early support made it possible for the Trump-Pence ticket to win the White House.

“Early in his campaign, your governor was there, standing with candidate Donald Trump, and he made it possible for us to be in this place to be serving the country the way we both are today,” Pence said. “We stand with the people of South Carolina, and we stand with Gov. Henry McMaster.”

McMaster and Greenville businessman John Warren face voters Tuesday in a Republican runoff to determine the party’s gubernatorial nominee. McMaster was the top vote-getter in a June 12 primary but failed to reach the 50 percent needed to win the nomination. Trump is visiting South Carolina Monday for a rally with McMaster, just hours before polls open on Tuesday.

Trump has endorsed McMaster, who as lieutenant governor was the first statewide elected official to back his 2016 candidacy, shocking even the closest advisers of the longtime fixture in South Carolina’s establishment GOP circles. McMaster became governor last year when Trump selected Nikki Haley as his U.N. ambassador.

On Saturday, Pence told a crowd that McMaster had not only been one of Trump’s earliest supporters but also had supported the administration on key issues, including border security. Last month, McMaster said South Carolina was sending a helicopter and some Army National Guard soldiers to Texas to help patrol the Mexican border.

“He’s been there, shoulder-to-shoulder, with this president,” Pence said. “Gov. Henry McMaster means business, and he’s just getting started.”

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Reach Kinnard at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP. Read her work at https://apnews.com/search/meg%20kinnard .


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