- Associated Press - Monday, September 16, 2019

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Former Republican candidate for governor in South Carolina John Warren is selling his stake in the mortgage company he founded and leaving little doubt that his first run for public office in 2018 won’t be his last.

Warren said Monday that he sold his majority stake in Lima One Capital of Greenville to his minority partners.

“My wife and I have a call to serve the people of South Carolina,” Warren told The Associated Press.

Warren, 40, said those plans involve both politics and private service, and he’ll announce more details before year’s end. For now, he’s ruled out a Republican primary challenge of U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham or any other run for office in 2020.

After that?

“I definitely have a passion for a leadership role in this state,” Warren said.

Warren’s challenge of Gov. Henry McMaster in 2018 was his first, and so far only, run for political office. He finished second in a five-way primary and then received 46% in the runoff against the governor, whose candidacy was bolstered by rallies by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence as a thank you for McMaster’s early support of Trump.

Warren’s campaign emphasized his four years of active duty in the Marines, including his deployment in Iraq. Lima One Capital was named for Warren’s call sign during his time in the Middle East.

Warren criticized McMaster as a lifelong politician who only became governor because Nikki Haley left the office to be U.N Ambassador when Trump was elected. Warren said McMaster was connected to corrupt consultants who cared more special interests than people, and promised to brink a conservative, business approach to the governor’s office.

Warren founded Lima One Capital with other Marines in 2011. It now has more than 300 full- and part-time employees, specializing in mortgages to real estate investors, and is on track to create more than $1 billion in loans this year.

Lima One involves Marines and other military veterans transitioning into private work because Warren said they are the best employees out there, even if they might need a little extra training.

“There is a lack of understanding of their capabilities and skills,” Warren said. “Veterans are the most capable employees.”

During his run for governor, Warren hired CEO Jeff Tennyson to run the day-to-day operations of the firm.

Lima One Capital plans to keep its headquarters and any jobs currently in Greenville in the city, Tennyson said.


Follow Jeffrey Collins on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JSCollinsAP.

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