Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson, is expected to announce Friday that he is running for governor.
Bryant is holding a press conference at a vending and food services business in his hometown Friday. His office said the lieutenant governor will discuss his plans for the 2018 election year.
He would be the fourth Republican candidate to enter the race, joining incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster, former Department of Health and Environmental Control director Catherine Templeton and former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill.
Bryant had built up a reputation as one of the Senate’s more hardline conservative “back-bench” members. The pharmacist had represented Anderson County in the chamber from 2005 until January, when he agreed to give up his seat and become lieutenant governor when McMaster took the state’s highest office. McMaster is serving out the last two years of previous Gov. Nikki Haley’s term while serves as United Nations ambassador.
Next year will be the first election that the governor and lieutenant governor will run on the same ticket. Voters changed the state constitution in 2012 to allow the governor pick his or her running mate after more than a century of electing the office separately.