GOP candidate for governor John Warren announced Wednesday he has tapped a Charleston-area developer and former State Ports Authority chairman as his choice for lieutenant governor.
Warren named Pat McKinney, a retired Kiawah Island developer as his running mate.
“I believe Columbia needs more businessmen and leaders who have been successful in the private sector,” Warren said in a YouTube video announcing his choice.
In 2014, McKinney finished second in the race for lieutenant governor, but dropped out of a runoff with then-candidate Henry McMaster. He picked up 24 percent of the vote in the Republican primary that year, but trailed McMaster by 20 percentage points. He dropped out before a potential runoff, citing two recent family deaths. But his spokesman admitted at the time McKinney would have stayed had the margin been closer.
McKinney was an early supporter of Haley’s bid for governor, joining her team in 2009. He later served on Haley’s transition team, her finance team and was one of her appointees to the State Ports Authority.
During that time, McKinney clashed with McMaster once Haley resigned to become United Nations ambassador. The then-chairman sought an audit into the Ports Authority’s spending on firms tied to McMaster’s political consultant Richard Quinn. Quinn was the subject of a state investigation, but charges against him were later dropped after he agreed to testify to the State Grand Jury. One of Quinn’s firms later paid a fine for failing to register the consultant’s lobbying activities. McMaster later replaced McKinney.
This will be the first year the governor and lieutenant governor run on the same ticket after more than a century of being elected separately. McKinney said he was excited to make a second run for the job.
“One of the big things that’s changed is that the role has changed,” he told South Carolina Radio Network. “It’s still a part-time job, but I’m going to put a full-time effort into it.”
McKinney admitted his wife Pam had donated to Warren’s opponent Catherine Templeton last year (Warren did not enter the race until February 2018). In his interview, McKinney said his wife has since “asked for it back because of some of the positions that were taken. That support had been withdrawn before getting to know John.” He would not elaborate on which of Templeton’s positions sparked the move, saying “That’s between my wife and her.”
Templeton’s campaign disclosure forms show Pam McKinney donated $1,000 to Templeton last year. She donated $1,600 to Warren’s campaign in March. Warren’s campaign has reported $3,400 in donations from Mr. McKinney since February.