The men vying to be South Carolina’s next governor are drawing their final contrasts as voters prepare to decide between them in next month’s election.
Republican Gov. Henry McMaster and Democratic state Rep. James Smith met in Florence on Wednesday for the first of two general election debates.
Smith went on the attack early, attempting to portray McMaster as out of touch with South Carolina’s needs, like expanded health care choices or infrastructural improvements.
McMaster focused on his economic achievements over nearly two years in office, saying he frequently hears from foreign companies excited to expand in the state, under his leadership.
During the debate, they were asked about when to ask for federal aid.
Smith said, “This is why we gotta put the people of our state before politics and ideology and serve the people of our state. Right now, I know it would deliver 40,000 jobs–an entire medical economy–because it would actually save money, because we would support preventative care and make sure we have healthier outcomes. Right now, as you were governor, South Carolina has the worst healthcare outcomes, but we pay the most for it. That will not change if Henry continues to serve. It will change if I have the extraordinary privilege to serve as governor of our state and we’ll take our state forward and make for a healthier South Carolina.”
McMaster replied, “What do the strings that come with that do to private business and industry? Here’s the answer to that–I’ve removed the regulation that allows nurse practitioners to go anywhere in the state, any number of them, under the supervision of a physician anywhere in the state. Taking the nurse practitioners out to the rural people to the rural areas, to the drug stores to the grocery stores, the clinics, those kinds of things. That kind of expansion in telemedicine, that is the answer. It’s free enterprise and it doesn’t cost you any tax money.”
McMaster and Smith face voters Nov. 6. They meet next week for their final debate.