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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina gubernatorial hopeful John Warren has picked Pat McKinney as his running mate, calling the Charleston businessman “a foot soldier for leaders like Jim DeMint and Nikki Haley.”

“He is a leader in the faith community and he fought corruption in state government,” Warren, a Greenville businessman, said Wednesday in announcing his pick. “He is the kind of leader I want by my side to bring conservative reform to our state.”

Warren is challenging Gov. Henry McMaster in the Republican primary.

McKinney, a retired Kiawah Island developer, has sought the office before. He was the first Republican to announce his candidacy in 2013, before then-Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell announced he would not seek election.

McKinney ultimately dropped out of that race ahead of an impending runoff with McMaster, the eventual winner. McKinney had actually finished second in that year’s primary by about 1,250 votes but bowed out ahead of an expected recount.

By picking McKinney, Warren could be trying to appeal to voters who recall the longtime developer’s association with Haley. Along with McMaster, McKinney served on Haley’s transition team, and Haley went on to appoint both men to the state Ports Authority board.

Saying he had backed Haley early on “because she was a conservative reformer committed to stopping the career politicians and political insiders,” McKinney called Warren “in the same mold as Nikki.”

Former state public health chief Catherine Templeton has also reminded voters of her association with Haley, featuring the former governor on television ads.

South Carolina’s primary elections are June 12, and this is the first year governor and lieutenant governor are running as a ticket. Both McMaster and Templeton have announced their running mates, as have all three Democratic candidates.


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