NEWS: McMaster taps political unknown to be running mate

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McMaster and Evette. Source: McMaster campaign YouTube video.

Staff reports  |  Incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster on Tuesday tapped a political unknown who describes herself as a “Trump girl” to be his running mate in 2018 if he wins the GOP nomination for governor.

The business executive who seeks to be lieutenant governor on McMaster’s ticket is Ohio native Pamela Evette of Travelers Rest, CEO of Quality Business Solutions.  The company handles payroll and human resources solutions for companies across the nation.  Its annual billings reportedly are $1 billion.

While McMaster touted Evette’s business experience, the announcement struck some analysts as odd, particularly since in presidential campaigns, running mates often are picked after a candidate secures the party’s nomination.  In 2018 for the first time, lieutenant governor candidates will be on the same ticket as the governor thanks to a recently-approved state referendum.

“We’re in new territory here in South Carolina,” said College of Charleston political scientist Gibbs Knotts.  “It was surprising.  It seemed strategic in getting somebody who is an outsider to combat him being a longtime political insider.  It provides some balance to the ticket, both on the outsider [characteristic] and obviously on gender.”

McMaster faces at least three GOP opponents in the primary:  current Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant, former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill and former agency head Catherine Templeton.

Evette, a 50-year-old who moved to the Palmetto State in 2005, told The Post and Courier that she has enjoyed politics her whole life.

“I really came on as a (Donald) Trump supporter because I like the fact he was going to bring a whole different perspective to running the country,” she told the paper.  “I was a Trump girl in the primary and all the way down to the election, and I’m still a Trump girl. “

In a Facebook post, McMaster highlighted Evette’s business experience:  “She’s met payrolls, lived the struggles of a small business owner, and she has raised a loving family. Now she is stepping up to use her business know-how and passion to work hard for our state.”

But Knotts said political experience can be good in a candidate.

“Bringing people together and coming up with solutions in government takes a very different skill set than in the private sector,” he noted.  “You have to build coalitions.  You have to get support from the public.

“Yes, there’s the management function of running government, but there’s also the legislative function a governor plays to be able to come up with solutions to problems and issues facing the state – and that doesn’t always translate from the private sector.”

Cheney to run at petition candidate

Retired librarian Philip M. Cheney of Fair Play says he now will run as an independent petition candidate for governor in 2018.

Cheney

Earlier in 2017, the former member of Anderson City Council, said he was running as a Democrat in an outsider campaign.

“The South Carolina Democratic Party has virtually anointed [S.C.] Representative James Smith as its standard-bearer for the office of Governor in 2018,” Cheney said in a statement.  “As a consequence, although I have in the past been identified with the Democratic Party, I have made the decision to go the petition route and run as an Independent.”

In addition to Smith, Charleston businessman Phil Noble is seeking the party’s gubernatorial nomination.

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