Governor Henry McMaster on Tuesday introduced the woman who would be his running mate should he win the Republican nomination next year in his reelection bid.
The governor tapped Travelers Rest businesswoman Pamela Evette for the job. Evette owns a large HR and payroll firm, but is a political newcomer.
“I’m happy to introduce to the people of South Carolina today someone who is ready, willing and able to go to work with me to see that all of our people have the opportunity to accomplish their dreams,” McMaster said in the announcement at a Greenville construction office.
2018 will be the first time that South Carolina voters will choose both the governor and lieutenant governor as a joint ticket, rather than separate elections. McMaster is the first candidate from either party to announce his partner in the race.
Evette is the CEO of Quality Business Solutions, which handles payroll for companies nationwide. She has previously donated the maximum allowable to McMaster’s campaign, but has not personally been involved in politics until now.
“The governor and I share very common ideals,” she said. “And, while we have very different backgrounds and experiences, our complimentary skill sets will combine to deliver a tremendous benefit to improve the lives of people all across this great state.”
Evette would be just the second woman — and first female Republican — to hold the office.
South Carolina voters approved a constitutional referendum in 2012 that would change the state’s constitution so the governor could pick his or her lieutenant governor. However, legislators have not yet approved the enabling legislation. Both the House and Senate have approved separate versions of the bill, but still need to hammer out a final version to send the governor.
McMaster faces three challengers for the Republican nomination next June: former Department of Health and Environmental Control director Catherine Templeton, current Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant and former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill. Templeton accused the governor of announcing his choice seven months before the primary to distract from corruption charges against his former campaign advisor Richard Quinn, who had a court appearance Tuesday.
Two Democratic candidates are also running for governor.