Republican Gov. Henry McMaster has positioned himself in a comfortable fundraising lead more than a year out from the 2022 November election, as his two Democratic challengers compete for South Carolina donors ahead of next summer’s primary contest.
McMaster raised more than $891,000 in his latest fundraising report, from April through June, ending the second quarter with more than $1.7 million cash on hand — well ahead of his Democratic challengers.
Joe Cunningham, a former Lowcountry congressman who announced his gubernatorial bid in April, raised more than $642,000 in two months and spent more than $205,000. Cunningham ended the fundraising period with nearly $437,000 in cash on hand.
The latest notable addition to the 2022 governor’s race, state Sen. Mia McLeod, D-Richland, raised more than $104,000 according to the new filing report, leaving the period with more than $98,000 in cash on hand. Columbia-based Democratic activist Gary Votour also has filed the necessary fundraising paperwork to run, but has not raked in the amount to competitively challenge the two.
The same goes for Republican Mindy Steele.
McLeod entered the race in early June and has done few public events, while Cunningham has been making the rounds through each of the state’s 46 counties on a statewide tour.
On Monday, Cunningham said he would push to legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana if elected governor, the candidate’s latest and by far loftiest proposal that has been slow to find allies in the Republican-controlled Legislature.
McMaster still faces no high-profile Republican challenger less than a year out from a primary election. Greenville businessman John Warren and Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, R-Edgefield, are reportedly still mulling the idea, but neither have announced bids.
The next round of fundraising will be reported in the fall.