COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP)/(WSPA) - Longtime state Rep. James Smith won the Democratic nomination in South Carolina's gubernatorial race on Tuesday, after leading the pack in fundraising, endorsements and name recognition.
Smith defeated Charleston consultant Phil Noble and Florence attorney Marguerite Willis in the primary. Smith has served in the state Legislature for 22 years. He was a JAG officer in the US Army Reserve and South Carolina Army National Guard but resigned his commission after the Sept. 11 attacks to enlist in the infantry.
Smith has selected fellow state Rep. Mandy Powers Norrell as his running mate.
It's not yet known who Smith will face in the November general election. Gov. Henry McMaster is one of five Republicans seeking their party's nomination for governor.
The GOP vote is a test of the heft of Trump's endorsement in South Carolina, where McMaster became governor last year following Nikki Haley's departure to serve as U.N. ambassador. As lieutenant governor, McMaster was the nation's first statewide elected official to back Trump ahead of South Carolina's early presidential primary.
McMaster was unsuccessful in his 2010 gubernatorial bid, losing a four-way primary to Haley.
Among his opponents are businessman John Warren - who only entered the race in February, served as a Marine and has largely self-funded his campaign, contributing more than $3 million toward his coffers - and former state public health chief Catherine Templeton.
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