South Carolina Governor Election: McMaster vs. Cunningham

South Carolina’s Governor Election

South Carolina voters are deciding whether to keep Republican Gov. Henry McMaster in office. His challenger, Democrat Joe Cunningham, is seeking to become the state’s first Democratic governor since Jim Hodges in 1998.

Cunningham hopes to turn out liberal voters. His agenda includes legalizing medical marijuana, raising teacher salaries, and eliminating the state income tax.

Henry McMaster

Henry McMaster is a longtime political fixture in South Carolina, where he has served as governor and lieutenant governor. He ascended to the position of governor in 2017 when Nikki Haley resigned from the post to join President Donald Trump’s administration. He is seeking to win a full term as governor in November.

The campaign has been largely cordial, with the two candidates rarely engaging in acrimony. Both are career politicians who have never been known for ruthless campaigns, and their ads largely avoided personal attacks. Despite this calm tone, the race has been closely watched.

During the campaign, McMaster has focused on the state’s economy and he has emphasized his efforts to keep the business climate competitive. He has also pushed to limit abortion rights, saying he will sign any new restrictions passed by lawmakers. He has also defended his decision to allow local governments to enforce COVID-19 restrictions in their own ways. Democrat challenger Joe Cunningham has called for bold change, including legalizing marijuana and sports betting and eliminating the state income tax.

Joe Cunningham

Joseph Kendrick Cunningham, 40, is the Democrat running against Henry McMaster for governor. He is a former U.S. representative from the state’s 1st district, which includes much of Charleston’s share of the Atlantic Coast. Cunningham won the Democratic primary and faces McMaster in November. The Democrat has promised to bring new ideas to the state and to focus on issues that affect younger voters.

He also promises to address gun violence and the racial divide in the state. He says his experience in Congress has taught him how to get people across the aisle to work together and pass legislation. He has already worked with his Republican counterparts to close the Charleston loophole and support the “For the People Act” to end gerrymandering. He also has a law firm that focuses on construction and personal injury. Cunningham has filed personal financial disclosures and has allowed reporters to see them. Subscribers to LegiStorm Pro can view them in detail and see them graphed year by year.

Voter turnout

South Carolina voters have a choice to make this election, with the state’s governor race between Republican Henry McMaster and Democrat Joe Cunningham. Both candidates are campaigning hard, but the outcome of this race may depend on voter turnout.

A low non-white turnout could spell trouble for the Democratic party in the state. Non-white voters have accounted for about 30% of registered voters, but they made up only 23% of the vote in the November midterms. There are several possible explanations for this dismal turnout, including ineffective messaging and lack of enthusiasm among voters.

Some states and individual counties provide votes cast information broken down by type, such as ballots voted early or those mailed in before Election Day. When this data is available, NBC News displays it as part of the election night results. This data can change as county election officials report new numbers. Safe and Solid ratings indicate that one party has a clear advantage, while Toss-up ratings are close and either party can win the election.


South Carolina voters can choose to vote for a party’s primary ballot or an “open primary” ballot. They can also vote for a third-party candidate. However, the choice does not affect their registration with a particular political party or their ability to participate in state elections. The polls indicate that Republican Henry McMaster will win a second four-year term as governor. His victory puts him on track to become the longest-serving governor in state history.

The poll shows that former state agency director Catherine Templeton, who campaigned on her ties with Nikki Haley’s administration, is favored by 25 percent of GOP primary voters. Businessman John Warren has 20 percent, while the rest are undecided or have no preferred candidate.

The poll also shows that support for Trump is high among Republicans in the state. Almost three-quarters of them view the former President favorably, while only one-quarter have an unfavorable view of him. In addition, 74% of the voters surveyed support legalizing medical marijuana.

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