President Trump to stump for Gov. Henry McMaster, but how valuable is the endorsement?

President Trump to stump for Gov. Henry McMaster, but how valuable is the endorsement?
Gov. Henry McMaster. (Source: Office of the Governor of South Carolina)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina's 2018 gubernatorial race is ramping up, as Gov. Henry McMaster announces his special guest, President Donald Trump, will campaign with him in Greenville next week.

The President will be at the Upstate fundraiser to support McMaster's run. But what kind of impact will the endorsement make? We spoke with political experts from both parties.

One Republican and one Democrat consultant each said it's a big deal to get a sitting President's endorsement.

Former state Democratic Party Director Amanda Loveday and Republican Consultant Joel Sawyer see it as McMaster's big risk in endorsing Trump early on now being rewarded.

"Every elected official wants to have the support of the sitting president, no matter who the president is, as long as they're a part of their party," Loveday said. "The governor will need to be careful to make sure the support that President Trump brings is the support that the constituency here in South Carolina is still looking for."

Loveday says there's still enough support for Trump in the Palmetto State for this play to resonate with voters.

"I think he would absolutely, hands-down win an election if it happened again tomorrow," she said.

Sawyer agrees support is still there overall and says it's another tool in McMaster's belt with which to face-off against the three other candidates in the June primary.

"I don't know if it's enough, but it's a very big deal. You have to remember that Gov. McMaster's only real hurdle to retaining the governorship is winning in the Republican primary," Sawyer says.

Of the challengers, Sawyer feels Catherine Templeton is the most formidable competitor.

To put things in perspective, back in November, all but 15 of South Carolina's 46 counties went red, to Trump. The latest Gallup poll through June shows his national approval rate at 50 percent.

Candidates now in the race for governor include McMaster, Templeton, former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill, Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant, and Democrat James Smith.

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