- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 23, 2018

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A Republican mounting a primary challenge to South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster says the incumbent has been hypocritical on three important issues.

On Wednesday, Greenville businessman John Warren told The Associated Press he was launching a website calling out McMaster for hypocrisy on ethics reform, fiscal efforts and abortion-related issues.

“The last thing government needs is someone who can’t keep his word,” Warren told AP, in launching www.HypocriteHenry.com .

The website cites media articles and social media postings tracking McMaster’s involvement and stances on each issue; then it pulls out others in an effort to portray the governor as inconsistent. On ethics, Warren notes that McMaster co-chaired a panel - commissioned by then-Gov. Nikki Haley - that laid the groundwork for eventual ethics reform legislation.

Warren then cites an April 2016 Facebook post by Haley in which she criticized her then-lieutenant governor for striking down an amendment to require elected officials to disclose private income sources. At the time, McMaster said changes to the measure to include a private-income disclosure requirement - an element he himself had proposed - weren’t relevant to the original proposal, as is required by Senate rules. The bill ultimately passed and became law.

Citing McMaster’s Facebook post earlier this month in which he said a Senate abortion debate “underscores the need to elect conservative Republicans that are willing to fight for the unborn,” Warren’s site points out that McMaster previously endorsed two state lawmakers who voted repeatedly against ending Democrats’ filibuster on the issue.

Asked by AP about the website, McMaster campaign spokeswoman Caroline Anderegg called the attacks on McMaster “weak and dishonest,” pointing out that the governor chaired Haley’s Ethics Reform Commission, “ended state tax dollars to Planned Parenthood in his first year in office, and has proposed across the board income tax cuts.”

The website appeared just hours before McMaster, Warren and three other Republican hopefuls were due to face off for a debate at Clemson University. Other contenders have previously met on stage, but this will be McMaster’s first time joining them.

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Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP. Read more of her work at https://apnews.com/search/meg%20kinnard.


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