South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster picked a businesswoman and a political newcomer to be his running mate in next year’s election.
Pamela Evette is president and CEO of Quality Business Solutions, a Travelers Rest-based firm founded in 2000 that specializes in payroll and human resources. According to the company’s website, QBS’ revenue has grown nearly $300 million in the past three years and is a nearly $1 billion enterprise.
According to a profile published last year by Upstate Business Journal, Evette is originally from Middleburgh Heights, Ohio, and earned a bachelor’s in business administration from Cleveland State University. Evette said she and McMaster have similar political goals, even if they have different backgrounds.
“Like many of you, I’ve been impressed with his honesty, his decency and his commitment to the state of South Carolina,” Evette said.
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McMaster said Evette was an easy choice, and one approved by his wife, Peggy.
“She loves this state as much as Peggy and I do,” McMaster said.
Evette, 50, maxed out to McMaster’s campaign in May with a $3,500 donation, according to state Ethics Commission records. Her company also made a $1,000 donation. Both she and her husband made $20 donations to former Gov. Nikki Haley’s 2014 re-election campaign, with their company kicking in another $1,000.
The Evettes made no political contributions to presidential candidates last cycle, according to online records; not even to President Donald Trump, with whom McMaster has closely aligned himself. Trump came to South Carolina earlier this year to appear at a fundraiser with McMaster, the nation’s first statewide elected official to endorse his candidacy.
Officials with Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant, who is challenging McMaster for the Republican nomination next year, said he hadn’t picked a running mate. Former Democratic state Sen. Yancey McGill also is running in the GOP primary, along with Catherine Templeton, the state’s former public health and labor chief.
The announcement came on the same day that McMaster’s longtime political consultant, Richard Quinn, appeared in court in Beaufort on charges of illegal lobbying and conspiracy. Quinn and his son – a state lawmaker – as well as other current and former representatives have been charged as a result of a wide-ranging investigation into corruption in South Carolina’s Legislature.
McMaster dropped Quinn as an adviser to his campaign earlier this year.
Templeton said she hadn’t picked a running mate and suggested McMaster was trying to create a distraction from Quinn’s court appearance.
“The timing is interesting since his political consultants are in court again today facing criminal charges,” Templeton’s campaign said in a statement to The Associated Press. “When the time is right, we’ll pick a good, strong conservative who isn’t part of the culture of corruption.”
Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP. Read her work at https://apnews.com/search/meg%20kinnard.