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McMaster tops Smith for governor

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By Kayla Vaughn

Incumbent Republican Henry McMaster won the S.C. governor’s race in the Nov. 6 election, defeating Democrat James Smith and running mate Mandy Powers Norrell of Lancaster.
The GOP ticket of McMaster and Pamela Evette, his pick for lieutenant governor, received 921,319 votes, 54 percent of the total. Smith and Norrell received 784,165 or 46 percent.
Turnout was heavy for a midterm election, with 55 percent of registered voters casting ballots statewide.
In Lancaster County, McMaster/Evette re-ceived 19,554 votes, 60 percent of the total. Smith/Norrell received 13,297 or 40 percent.
Turnout was even heavier in the county, with 57 percent of registered voters casting ballots.
 

“I’m so proud to represent the people of South Carolina, and I am thrilled to have four more years to do it!” McMaster said at his jubilant watch party at the Hilton in Columbia.
McMaster, a 71-year-old Columbia lawyer, is a former U.S. attorney, S.C. attorney general and state GOP chair. He was elected lieutenant governor in 2014 and became governor in January 2017 when Nikki Haley resigned the job to become President Donald Trump’s United Nations ambassador.
McMaster campaigned this year on a platform of tax cuts and deregulation as a route to economic development and good jobs for S.C. residents.
McMaster said while the state had had its ups and downs, “we up now, and we’re going to keep on going up.
“With the help of God Almighty, we’re going to unleash the greatness and the goodness of the people of South Carolina,” he said. “We’re going to educate our children, safeguard our people and their property, protect our environment and build a prosperity unlike any we have ever seen before. That is my promise to you.”  
Evette, his running mate, is a business owner from Traveler’s Rest and an Ohio native. She and her husband built their business from the ground up more than 20 years ago and she believes her background in business and finance will complement McMaster’s many years in government, making them the perfect team.
“Together we can make a real difference and leave this beautiful state we love so much better than we found it, for ourselves, for our children and our grandchildren,” Evette said. “I’m incredibly honored to be your lieutenant governor and I assure you, I will never forget who I work for.”
McMaster said he looked forward to “working side-by-side” with Evette, the state’s first female lieutenant governor, as well as the first one elected on the same ticket as the governor.
Evette’s opponent and James Smith’s running mate, Mandy Powers Norrell thanked the crowd and expressed her “overwhelming gratitude” to all of their supporters and families.
Smith said he had called McMaster and congratulated him on his win.
When someone in the room yelled, “We still believe,” followed by a chant of “In four years,” Smith blushed and grinned, but never confirmed that he would run again.
“We need to focus on the things that matter now,” he said. “We are not done yet, my friends. We cannot let these folks down.”
Smith has represented S.C. House District 72 in Richland County since 1996. In his campaign for governor, he has advocated Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, higher teacher salaries and infrastructure improvements.
“She could be governor, and a great governor for South Carolina,” Smith said in recognizing what his running mate brought to the campaign.
Norrell, 45, was born and raised in Lancaster and still lives and works in her hometown. She and her husband, Mitch Norrell, own a law firm on Main Street and have two children, Teddy and Emma.
Norrell has represented House District 44 in Lancaster County since 2012. She was re-elected without GOP opposition on Tuesday.
She brought a small-town touch to the Democratic ticket, known for her ability to connect with people across the rural parts of the state.
“The sun will come out tomorrow,” Norrell said. “We’ll continue fighting for the South Carolina that does not yet exist, but I know is possible.”
Other state vote totals
• Secretary of state – Mark Hammond (R), 970,554 votes (57 percent); Melvin Whittenburg (D), 727,935 (43 percent)
• State treasurer – Curtis Loftis (R), 952,213 votes (56 percent); Rosalyn Glenn (D and Working Families), 722,960 (43 percent); Sarah Work (American), 25,978 (2 percent)
• Attorney general – Alan Wilson (R), 938,011 votes (55 percent); Constance Anastopoulo (D and Working Families), 764,788 (45 percent)
• Amendment – State constitutional amendment to make education superintendent an appointed job rather than elected. No: 986,656 votes (60 percent); Yes: 654,981 (40 percent)

 

Carolina Gateway Editor Jane Alford contributed to this story.