COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina gubernatorial hopeful Catherine Templeton’s fundraising momentum continued to gather speed in the third quarter, with the Republican announcing late Tuesday she had outraised the Trump-backed Gov. Henry McMaster by more than $30,000.
Templeton, 46, reported raising more than $600,000 in the most recent filing period. McMaster, who is seeking his first full term in office, raised nearly $568,000 in the same time period.
Both of the candidates reported having $1.9 million on hand. More than a third of McMaster’s money came from out-of-state donors, according to online records, while Templeton’s campaign said less than 10 percent of her donors were outside South Carolina.
President Donald Trump is set to return to South Carolina next week to raise money for McMaster, who as lieutenant governor was the first statewide officeholder in the nation to back the outsider’s presidential bid. The move by the establishment Republican shocked his party’s hierarchy and stunned political observers, but McMaster’s support never wavered. The move ultimately paid off when Trump nominated Gov. Nikki Haley to U.N. ambassador, clearing McMaster’s pathway to the governorship he long sought.
The ascension of McMaster, 70, enabled him to run as an incumbent in what had been anticipated as a wide-open race.
Templeton, who has never before sought elected office, has amassed impressive fundraising numbers since officially launching her campaign this year. In the second quarter, she took in $750,000, which was $50,000 higher than the quarter before. At the time, her campaign and a top GOP operative said the earlier figure was more than the state’s current and previous two governors raised in that same time period before they ran as incumbents.
An anti-union attorney, Templeton served Haley as head of the state’s labor and public health departments. She announced her official entry into the race in April, after McMaster was elevated to governor upon Haley’s confirmation to the U.N.
The Trump administration tried to woo Templeton to Washington, offering her a slot at the Department of Labor. But Templeton passed, saying that she would instead focus on South Carolina.
Former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill and current Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant are also seeking the Republican nomination and together raised a total of roughly $75,000 in the third quarter, according to online records.
In the past week, longtime state Rep. James Smith and consultant Phil Noble entered the race on the Democratic side.