Party primaries have sloped towards ideological purity over any singular philosophy, record, or temperament of candidates, and the South Carolina Republican primary for governor doesn’t seem to be any different anymore.
John Warren, the businessman from Greenville hoping for his shot at incumbent governor Henry McMaster, recently launched a website directed at other party primary opponent, labor attorney Catherine Templeton. The attack website, TempletonDoesntCutIt.com, is simply a number of pages that lay out instances that the site’s author insists prove that Templeton isn’t ideologically pure enough to represent the Republican party in Columbia. Among other items, it attacks Templeton for voting for Democrats, no-bid contracts with state agencies, and criticisms she levied at now-President Donald Trump during the 2016 primary season, calling him a “big personality” and predicting his campaign would burn out against the serious contenders back in 2015.
The website is the second such site that Warren has tried, launching HypocriteHenry.com earlier in the season to attack the incumbent governor over his apparent incongruity between statements the governor has made and policies he has implemented.
The attack is not uncommon, and it is expected to be a very common one in a mid-term election season that many suspect will be defined by one’s loyalty or opposition to the current Trump administration.
But Warren may find he has bit off more than he can handle, Templeton served in Nikki Haley’s administration, who resigned her post as governor of South Carolina in 2017 to become Trump’s pick as ambassador to the United Nations. McMaster himself was popularly elected as Haley’s lieutenant governor, and assumed her role when she was confirmed by the Senate. South Carolina Republicans play by their own rule book, and Warren will need more than ideological games to jockey ahead of Templeton and the incumbent governor.