U.S. Sen. Tim Scott didn't endorse a primary candidate in South Carolina's 2018 gubernatorial race, but for 2022, he's offering an early nod to incumbent Republican Gov. Henry McMaster.
Next month, Scott is the special guest at a fundraiser for McMaster's reelection campaign, according to an invitation obtained by The Associated Press. The event, to be attended by McMaster and Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette, is being planned at a private home on Daniel Island.
“Through all of the challenges that America has faced in recent years, Gov. McMaster has proven to be a strong leader. As we endeavor to emerge from a global pandemic, Gov. McMaster is hard at work forging a path forward,” Scott told AP on Tuesday. “I support his vision for continued growth and prosperity for the people of South Carolina.”
Scott — the first Black U.S. senator in the South since Reconstruction and the sole Black Republican currently in the chamber — didn't endorse a candidate in the 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary, when four candidates challenged McMaster. His had been among the names floated as potential primary challengers for McMaster in that campaign, potentially with his closest congressional friend, U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, as his running mate.
Opting not to run at the time, Scott told The Post and Courier newspaper that three factors played into his decision making: “God, my family and Trey Gowdy."
McMaster, who said last week he has raised $3.5 million thus far, has yet to draw a primary opponent with significant fundraising. However, Greenville businessman John Warren — who largely self-funded his campaign and forced McMaster into a runoff in 2018 — hasn't yet ruled out the possibility of a repeat performance.
Scott, who has said his 2022 campaign for a second full term of his own will be his last, has already been endorsed by McMaster in that race.
Beyond that, Scott is being mentioned as a possible contender for his party's presidential nomination in 2024. With a prime speaking slot at last year's Republican National Convention, Scott was tapped to give the party's response to President Joe Biden's initial address to Congress. He has also been traveling to events in early-voting states, including a dinner last week in New Hampshire.