Henry McMaster says he loves campaigning – and he’ll get plenty more of it in the next two weeks.
The former state Attorney General got the most votes in the Republican Party primary for lieutenant governor on Tuesday. However, McMaster’s 44 percent of the vote was short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff election. That means he must face the second-place finisher on June 24 before he can head into the general election.
But it’s not clear just yet who that second-place finisher will be.
Charleston real estate executive Pat McKinney leads Columbia investment manager Mike Campbell by little more than 1,300 votes with 99 percent of precincts reporting. That gives McKinney 24.2 percent of the vote to Campbell’s 23.7 percent. The slim margin means an automatic recount is required under state law. The recount will occur later this week.
“The way I look at it, I’m one step closer to going to work for the people,” McMaster said while celebrating the 20-point lead Tuesday night.
Blythewood minister Ray Moore finished fourth with just 8 percent of the vote.
The winner of the June 24 runoff will meet State Rep. Bakari Sellers, D-Denmark, in the general election. Sellers was unopposed in the Democratic primary.
This will be the last year that voters directly choose the lieutenant governor’s position. Under a 2012 state constitutional amendment, candidates for governor will begin selecting their running mates in 2018.