South Carolina

Candidates for S.C. governor make final push to voters before primary

Florence attorney Marguerite Willis stopped in Columbia Sunday, June 10, 2018 to join teachers for a town hall on education.
Florence attorney Marguerite Willis stopped in Columbia Sunday, June 10, 2018 to join teachers for a town hall on education. tbarton@thestate.com

Democrats and Republicans running for South Carolina governor will barnstorm the state Monday to rally supporters and make their final push before Tuesday's primary election.

Florence attorney Marguerite Willis stopped in Columbia on Sunday to join teachers for a town hall on education.

Willis said she supports "100 percent" a constitutional referendum in November to ask voters to amend the state constitution to allow governors to appoint the education superintendent.

She also said she would veto any budget bill that does not provide state workers fair compensation.

"We are looking for people — for candidates — someone who ... is willing to listen to the teacher voice and to know that education is important," said Paige Steele, an English teacher at Lexington 1 River Bluff High School.

While she felt Willis made some good points — including utilizing technology to partially address teaching shortages — Steele said she has yet to make up her mind in the race.

"I'm waiting until Tuesday morning, and I'm going to spend the next couple of days kind of going over everything in my head and figure out what's most important to me and where my heart really lies with all of it," she said.

Willis spokesman Les Braswell said the campaign has been focused on reaching voters and mobilizing supporters in the Pee Dee and Midlands, where most of the state's Democratic voters reside.

Willis said she plans to remain in the Pee Dee on Monday and Tuesday to campaign and thank volunteers.

Presumed Democratic Party front-runner state Rep. James Smith of Columbia will be joined by running mate and state Rep. Mandy Powers Norrell of Lancaster as they fly around the state to meet with voters Monday.

They will head to Greenville, stopping next in Spartanburg, Florence and Charleston. They'll head back to Columbia, where they will gather with supporters at Hunter Gatherer for a get-out-the-vote rally, according to his campaign.

On Tuesday, Smith will vote in Columbia with his family and then will travel to selected precincts throughout the day.

Charleston technology consultant Phil Noble will swing through the Lowcountry on Monday, while running mate Gloria Bromell Tinubu will tour the Pee Dee.

On the GOP side, S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster, who on Saturday wrapped up a statewide bus tour, will fly on Monday with running mate Pamela Evette to campaign stops in Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Greenville and Columbia.

Greenville mortgage lender John Warren will swing through the Lowcountry, making stops in Georgetown County, Mount Pleasant, Bluffton and Hilton Head on Monday.

Mount Pleasant labor attorney Catherine Templeton will hold get-out-the-vote rallies in Greenville, West Columbia and Mount Pleasant on Monday.

On Election Day, Templeton will start the day in her home town of Mount Pleasant, then travel to the Upstate to greet voters, ending the day in the Midlands, according to her campaign.

Recent polling has shown a tight race in both party primaries, leading to speculation of at least one runoff, or two.

Tom Barton: 803-771-8304, @tjbarton83
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