The unknown Republican in the SC governor’s race just gave $500K to his campaign | The State

Republican John Warren pledged to spend a lot of his own money to run for S.C. governor — and he’s keeping his word.

The little known Greenville real-estate lender, and political novice, has given himself $500,000 toward about $650,000 raised from January through March for his bid for the state’s highest office, his campaign told The State on Tuesday, hours before the midnight deadline for filing quarterly fundraising reports.

Warren also has spent a lot of money. The campaign’s expenses totaled about $440,000 in the first three months of the year, with only some of that paying for Warren’s first statewide TV ad, his campaign manager Taylor Hall said.

That leaves him with about $260,000 left to spend at the end of March, placing him at a cash disadvantage to S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster’s chief rival Catherine Templeton, a Mount Pleasant attorney — and likely McMaster, too — as they enter the final stretch of campaigning for the June 12 primaries.

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Templeton, a former state agency chief, raised more than $557,000 in the first quarter of 2018, leaving her with about $2.5 million, her campaign said Tuesday night before filing the official report online.

Templeton’s campaign manager R.J. May said the contributions "show voters are responding to Catherine’s call to lead a conservative revolution."

The year’s first quarter marks the fifth in a row that Templeton has raised $500,000 or more, May said. However, the figure fell short of the $721,000 she raised during the last three months of 2017.

McMaster’s campaign had not filed the Columbia Republican’s report or released details about the governor’s fundraising as of 9 p.m.

At that point, only two Republicans running for governor had filed their campaign reports with the state. S.C. Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant of Anderson reported raising $21,756 in the first three months of 2018. He finished the quarter with $182,519.

Yancey McGill, a former lieutenant governor and longtime state senator, raised $8,720 from January through March and finished the quarter with $423 on hand, according to his report.

An investment real-estate lender and Marine Corps veteran, Warren told The State recently that fundraising is not the top priority and that he will have the money to be competitive.

Warren’s contributions to his own campaign have reached $550,000. He first pitched in $50,000 to explore a run in December.

Hall, Warren’s campaign manager, said Warren and his wife Courtney "remain committed to investing in the campaign," adding Warren is "the only political outsider in the race who can’t be bought by the special interests."

Jamie Self: 803-771-8658, @jamiemself

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