SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) — With the 2022 midterm elections only days away, and with early voting already underway, 7NEWS compiled a list of candidates competing in the biggest statewide races.
The gubernatorial election is arguably the biggest contest in the state. Governor Henry McMaster (R) is running for a second term in that role against Joe Cunningham (D), who formerly served as South Carolina’s District 1 representative for the US House.
|2022 Gubernatorial Contest||Party||Voting Record|
|Henry McMaster (Incumbent)||Republican||Voting Record|
|Joe Cunningham||Democrat||Voting Record|
|Morgan Bruce Reeves||Libertarian|
Governor Henry McMaster (Incumbent)
McMaster was sworn in as governor in January 2017, after former Governor Nikki Haley was appointed as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. He was then elected to a full term as governor in 2018, according to a bio on his webpage.
He had previously served as the state’s attorney general.
McMaster was born on May 27, 1947, in Columbia, South Carolina. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of South Carolina in 1969. In 1973, he graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, according to his webpage.
Joe Cunningham (Challenger)
Cunningham was born in western Kentucky before moving to South Carolina to attend the College of Charleston over twenty years ago. He later graduated from Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law, according to a bio on his webpage.
In 2018, he became the first Democrat to be elected to South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District in over 40 years. He was defeated by Republican Nancy Mace in 2020 while campaigning for a second term.
Morgan Bruce Reeves (Challenger)
Libertarian Party candidate Morgan Bruce Reeves has played professional football, lectured as a senior pastor, and led several community service organizations.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in urban planning, a master’s degree in church administration and a doctorate in theology, according to a bio on his webpage.
The previous gubernatorial election in South Carolina
In the 2018 gubernatorial election, McMaster won his seat with less than a 10 percent majority of the popular vote, leaving his challengers a glimmer of hope in a largely Republican state.
McMaster defeated Democrat James Smith with 54 percent of the vote; his Democratic challenger received 46 percent of the vote.
In that election, roughly 3 million registered voters in the state cast 1.7 million votes, and only about 137,000 votes separated Gov. McMaster from his Democratic opponent.
2022 congressional seats up for election
Two of the most interesting races are the congressional elections in the 1st and 7th districts, according to Robert Oldendick, professor of political science at the University of South Carolina. Several Republican candidates are running unopposed, including Jeff Duncan in District 3, and William Timmons in District 4.
|US House (District 1)||Party||Voting Record|
|Nancy Mace (Incumbent)||Republican||Bills Sponsored|
|Dr. Annie Andrews||Democrat|
|Joseph Oddo||Alliance Party|
“I think given that [Nancy] Mace is the incumbent, she has a slight advantage there. But out of the other seven [US] house races, I think that this will be the most competitive and the closest one,” said Oldendick.
|US House (District 5)||Party||Legislation|
|Ralph Norman (Incumbent)||Republican||Bills Sponsored|
In District 7, former representative Tom Rice lost his reelection campaign during the primary to a candidate endorsed by former President Trump. Rice had represented the 1st District since 2012, but found himself in the crosshairs of some Republicans after voting to impeach Trump.
He was defeated in the primary election by Republican Russell Fry, who serves as the SC House representative for District 106.
|US House (District 7)||Party||Legislation|
|Russell Fry||Republican||Bills Sponsored|
|Larry Guy Hammond||Libertarian|
“When you have an open seat race like that it’s generally more competitive. Now that district is majority Republican. I think that in terms of party identification, Fry has the advantage,” said Oldendick.
|US Senate Candidates||Party||Voting Record|
|Tim Scott (incumbent)||Republican||Bills sponsored by Scott|
|Krystle Matthews||Democrat||Bills sponsored by Matthews|
|Jesse Harper||Independent American|
|Larry Adams Jr.||Independent|
The contest for the state’s superintendent of education is also expected to be competitive, according to Oldendick. Democrat Lisa Ellis, who has two decades of teaching experience, is facing off against Republican Ellen Weaver, president of the conservative think tank Palmetto Promise Institute.
|Superintendent of Education||Party||Interviews|
|Lisa Ellis||Democratic||Lisa Ellis|
|Ellen Weaver||Republican||Ellen Weaver|
“I think that her ability to probably raise more money and to have that advantage in terms of party identification is what will help her to victory in November,” said Oldendick.
|Commissioner of Agriculture||Party|
|Chris Nelums||United Citizens|
Statewide Constitutional Amendments
There are two amendments to the state’s constitution on the ballot that would increase the state’s ability to prepare for economic uncertainty.
The Constitution of the State of South Carolina requires two “rainy day” funds:
- General Reserve Fund (S.C. Constitution, Article III, Section 36(A))
- Capital Reserve Fund (S.C. Constitution, Article III, Section 36(B))
|Statewide Constitutional Amendments||Effect if passed|
|Amendment 1||Increases money for the General Reserve Fund|
|Amendment 2||Increases money for Capital Reserve Fund|
|Amendment 1: The General Reserve Fund of five percent of annual general fund revenue will be increased each year by one-half of one percent until it equals seven percent.|
|Explanation: A ‘Yes’ vote will increase the amount of money the state government must keep in the General Reserve Fund (its “rainy day” fund) from 5% of the previous year’s revenue to 7% of the previous year’s revenue.|
|Amendment 2: The Capital Reserve Fund of two percent of annual general fund revenue will be increased to three percent and require the first use of the Capital Reserve Fund must be to offset midyear budget reductions.|
|Explanation: A ‘Yes’ vote will increase the amount of money state government must appropriate to the Capital Reserve Fund (the “reserve and capital improvements” fund) from 2% of the previous year’s revenue to 3% of the previous year’s revenue and require that the Capital Reserve Fund’s first priority is to offset midyear budget cuts at state agencies.|
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