SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) — SC Gov. Henry McMaster is facing one Republican candidate on Tuesday’s primary election. In the Democrat party, Mia McLeod and Joe Cunningham are fighting for a chance to become the next governor in the general election this Fall.

Gov. McMaster’s only challenger in the Republican primary is Greenville resident Harrison Musselwhite, colloquially known as “Trucker Bob,” who promises to bring to South Carolina similar legislation as Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis, if elected. This is his first election.

McLeod, from Bennettsville, South Carolina, has served as a state senator for District 22 since 2017. She began working as a state representative for District 79 in 2011.

Cunningham served as a U.S. representative for South Carolina for District 1 from 2019 to 2021. He was narrowly defeated by Nancy Mace last year for that position.

Overall, the candidates have raised about $2 million for the election. Incumbent Gov. McMaster has raised about $5 million, according to showmethemoney.com, a nonprofit organization that tracks campaign donations. The other candidates for governor have not raised as much as these four candiates.

Democrat

Sen. Mia McLeod

Sen. McLeod’s political agenda includes expanding Medicaid, increasing the minimum wage, improving education standards and supporting a women’s right to choose birth control options, according to a statement from her campaign.

“I’d like to see every South Carolinian have access to quality health care because I can expand Medicaid on day one. Long term, I’d love to see our state prioritize the needs and challenges of everyday people, working people in particular.

“So many South Carolinians have to work multiple jobs, and that should not be currently our working people are making slave wages in the state $7.25 an hour and having to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet, especially now with gas prices and housing being less affordable and less attainable,” she said.

“As governor, she would like to raise the minimum wage to a living wage of at least $15.

“And just, you know, those are the things that I envision for thriving South Carolina. And we are not there we’re not even close. But those are attainable, and we just need somebody in the governor’s office who cares enough about all South Carolinians to make that a reality for our state.

Education

“When it comes to public education, I’ve seen our Republican majority do everything they can to dismantle and defund public education as we know it. And more recently, Senate voted to send $100 million to private school vouchers. You know, we talk about all you can’t throw money at this issue. The Republicans want people to believe that because they’re throwing money at private schools instead of investing in our public schools, that our public schools are not only crumbling, but they are losing teachers and in droves.

“Teachers are leaving our state for good reason. We’d lied to them over the years. Even this year and at a time when we have unprecedented money. This governor calls it a surplus. I don’t believe it can be a surplus unless and until the basic needs of every South Carolinian have been met. But we do have unprecedented money.

“One of the things that I know we need to do differently as it relates to teachers and keeping them here is we need to listen to them on the front end. They are on the front lines of this fight. And so it makes no sense for a body of 46 senators to make the decisions for them when we know nothing about what they need, they’re telling us what they need to be successful, and they’re saying, yes, we need higher pay,” she said.

“And I’m all for that. I want us to raise their pay to the national average. But they’re also saying we need smaller classrooms, smaller class sizes and less testing and we’ve done nothing to do that to make that a reality for them. Just recently, we actually debated a bill about whether to give elementary school teachers a bathroom break.

“I introduced the Viagra Bill in 2016 when our male-dominated legislature came for our reproductive rights and freedoms. The bill proposed that men who want to get Viagra or other drugs to help them have sex wait for 24 hours and get a sworn statement from their sexual partners detailing their problems.

She says the bill, which failed, was intended to expose the hypocrisy and broadened the conversation about what that looks like when men are on the receiving end of the ridiculousness that they impose on women.

Abortion Rights

“As the Fetal Heartbeat Bill was about to pass here in South Carolina, I, as a sexual assault survivor, understood that they are not only criminalizing women who are seeking abortions, even if they are molested or raped. They were intentional about criminalizing doctors and forcing women to go to our male-dominated sheriff’s departments just to prove that they were eligible to even consider an abortion.

“They call themselves pro-life. But it’s clear they care nothing about the living. They call themselves pro-life. On Tuesdays and on Wednesdays, they’re pro-death, passing firing squad bills to kill those who are incarcerated on death row,” she said.

“My Pro Birth Accountability Act also got national attention because it will require the state of South Carolina to help cover the cost of those mandated births from conception to college. And you know, those are the kinds of things that I will continue to champion as governor, but I will also have veto power to help leverage some of the things that, you know, they won’t get that they keep putting up and prioritizing right now when it comes to legislation that is impacting women and girls in our state.

“If abortion becomes illegal, some women will lose hope and lose their lives because they will take desperate measures to relieve their suffering and to exercise the rights that they should have just by virtue of being women and girls in our state,” she said.

Crime

Sen. Mcleod sponsored the Transparency in Justice Act, which would make hate a crime in SC. She supports a ban on no-knock warrants, police chokeholds. She wants to “demilitarize” the police, decriminalize marijuana, end qualified immunity for cops who kill civilians without justification, and make other critical changes to our outdated criminal justice laws, she said in a campaign statement.

Business Development

“I mean, there’s no shortage of issues here in South Carolina. And the Republicans, including this governor, have been very intentional about increasing the number of South Carolinians who are struggling.

“When I think about the fact that as governor, I get to set the tone and the priorities of our state, and I will prioritize working people to make sure that, you know, I know it won’t happen overnight, but I will continue to fight for a $15 living wage so that South Carolinians can begin to have a fighting chance in this state.

“I will focus on workforce development. Having served on the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Board for many years before I served, I understand that we’ve only paid lip service to workforce development. So the high-paying jobs that we do have right here in South Carolina aren’t being filled by South Carolina. They’re being filled by out-of-state people who are brought in to take advantage of those high-paying positions.

“And meanwhile, we are pushing South Carolinians back into minimum wage jobs or jobs, or slave wages, as I see it, with very little pay and no protections.

Background

“I come from a rural community in South Carolina. I know the hardships that rural communities face. And I opened satellite offices in every region of our state to make the programs and services that we offer more accessible. So I’ve kind of worked my way into this arena, not intentionally, but just by virtue of seeing the impact that our elected officials have on the lives of every South Carolinian and wanting to do more in that space.

“That has led me to working in the South Carolina House for six years; running for the Senate in 2016, and now serving in the South Carolina Senate for six years, too. I know why I’m in this space and I know that the people of South Carolina need someone who leads with courage and compassion and conviction. And I am that leader,” she said.

“My first taste of politics and being at the statehouse was as a page for then-Representative David Beasley, who later became governor of South Carolina.

“I can’t say that I had an interest at all in serving in the House or Senate. And it’s just ironic that I and I ended up serving in those spaces. But what I can tell you is when I graduated law school and at the University of South Carolina, my first job after law school was working for a Republican attorney general, Charlie Condon, at a time when our state was the number one in the nation for women who are murdered by men as a result of domestic violence.

“I saw the impact that legislation and our legislators have on the needs and the challenges that everyday people face and how they manage those challenges and how they address them. It was very intriguing to me, and I went on to work for our last Democratic governor, Jim Hodges, to direct the state Office of Victim Assistance, managing the Crime Victims Compensation Fund.

Final Thoughts

“I will make good use of our tax dollars by investing in the areas that I know will have a positive impact on all South Carolinians issues like public education and our minimally adequate public education system here. I will invest in public education. I’ll invest in our infrastructure, in health care, expand Medicaid, you know, focus on the issues that impact all of us, like gun violence and the systemic ills when it comes to our criminal justice system and policing reforms and just equal justice, environmental justice

Sen. Mcleod’s sponsored or introduced bills: Mia S. McLeod – South Carolina Senator Democrat – Bill Sponsor

Sen. Mcleod’s campaign funding: Pre-Election (Primary) Report 2022 | Mia S. McLeod | SC Ethics Public Reporting

Sen. Mcleod’s voting Record: Mia S. McLeod – South Carolina Senator Democrat – Bill Sponsor

Joe Cunningham

“The first thing I want to do when I become governor is to expand Medicaid. On day one. This is going to provide health care to hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians. It’s going to create 40,000 new jobs in that sector. And it’s also going to provide health care to our uninsured veterans as well, taking care of those who have taken care of us. So that can be done immediately on day one.

Education

“We also want to raise teacher pay by 10% across the board. We have a problem here in South Carolina with our teachers leaving in droves. And it’s a crisis. You know, when one-in-seven teachers left their classroom just last year and it’s because they’re they feel disrespected they that they’re overworked and underpaid and we want to change that. The long-term plan is to get them from $36,000 a year to $50,000 a year, for starting salaries.

“We got to start with putting teachers in the classrooms and keeping them in the classrooms. And I see it as an immediate crisis. Right now. My oldest brother teaches special ed at a public school. He’s taught for over 20 years. He’s a fabulous teacher. And like most other teachers, he’s feeling a little burned out because of this. And this is a common thing when people leave any job. They leave because they feel underappreciated or disrespected. And when our governor wants to keep paying starting teachers in the upper $30,000 a year, with inflation the way it is, they can’t cover their rent.

“I’ve been across the state sitting down and having roundtable discussions with teachers and listening. And what they’re telling me is they can’t afford their rent, they can’t afford groceries, they can’t afford the bills with what they’re being paid right now. And on top of that, you got politicians telling them what to do, and now someone encouraging them to pack pistols instead of pencils and take and be soldiers in the schools.

“We’ve got to pay them more. We gotta appreciate them more. But we also have to look at bringing new people into the profession. I’ve talked about tripling the scholarships for those who are wanting to become teachers from, you know, $3,000 to $9,000, and that’s those are things we need to look at. Paid family leave for teachers as well.

“You know, the state legislature just passed family leave for state employees but not teachers. Teachers have been left behind once again by this governor. And that’s not going to happen because I’m going to be a governor in the future. I to take South Carolina into the future.

Abortion Rights

“I trust women to make these decisions about their own bodies.

“The only thing standing in the way of a total and complete abortion ban, with no exceptions, is my veto pen. That is it. And that’s something that I think voters need to know as they’re heading to the polls.

“Governor McMaster is on the far, far extreme on this issue. And he’s disconnected from South Carolina. He’s the oldest governor in South Carolina’s history. And he’s been in politics literally longer than I’ve been alive. As a result, he’s become disconnected from the voters and the people that he’s supposed to represent.

Gun Control

“We can protect the Second Amendment and have common-sense gun safety measures. These two are not mutually exclusive. Look, I’m a gun owner. I grew up around guns. I’ve got my concealed weapons permit. But I, along with 90% of other Americans, believe that we should have background checks and we should close the Charleston Loophole. But this governor’s solution to this crisis is to do nothing. Our state has the highest crime rate we’ve ever had. After six years of him being in office, where has he taken us? To the very top of the crime rate. That’s why it’s time for a change

“Require background checks for all gun sales, including private sales, online sales, and sales at gun shows. This is the most comprehensive and effective way to ensure only law-abiding citizens get access to firearms. This is a wildly popular position: 84% of Americans support universal background checks, including 77% of Republicans.

Infrastructure

“We’re dead last in roads. We’re 50th in the nation. So you can take your pick, you know, You know, someone told me the other day that we don’t need signs welcoming people into South Carolina when they drive into our state because you can feel it, and that’s no more that’s evident than I-26.

“We want to expand I-26 from North Charleston all the way to North Carolina. And, you know, Governor McMaster vetoed a bill to fix our roads. He vetoed it. We’ve got 745 structurally deficient bridges in our state. 745 structurally deficient bridges! And people got to ask themselves, like, do I know where those are? Did I drive over one today where my kids run across one now? We have got to do better than we’ve been doing.

Renewable Energy Business Development

“Our obligation as parents or grandparents is to pass the environment off to the next generation in as good shape, if not better. We have to have that forward-thinking vision and we got to have a governor who believes in climate change.

“I would love for South Carolina to be the number one manufacturer of electric vehicles, not just the vehicles but the parts and the suppliers and the whole supply chain right here in South Carolina. And you think about where we’re at, you know, in Charleston, we’re going to have the deepest port along the Eastern Seaboard. We have the infrastructure.

“And again, we need to be first, not last. I know Governor McMaster and the legislature would prefer to bribe companies in the coming year by giving a half-billion dollars a year in tax incentives.

Final Thoughts

“We got to expand Medicaid so everybody has access to quality and affordable health care. And we’ve got to start investing more in our roads. And that’s why our proposals to legalize marijuana, legalize sports betting, and then take that tax revenue and pay our teachers more and fix our roads, [will provide for] our vision for the future. And that’s where we want to take South Carolina.

Background

“I worked as an ocean engineer and, and practiced law for a number of years until 2016; when really the political discourse just took a turn for the worse. I knew in my heart that we are better than this. And so I put myself forward to run for Congress in a district that no Democrat had won in 40 years. People thought I was crazy, but I knew that we could have a message that resonated with folks,” he said.

Cunningham introduced The Great American Outdoors Act, permanently funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, now WCF, which is responsible for acquiring and obtaining green spaces and parks in every one of South Carolina’s 46 counties.

Data Sources

Cunningham’s bills he introduced or sponsored Joe Cunningham | Congress.gov | Library of Congress

Cunningham’s campaign finances: Pre-Election (Primary) Report 2022 | Joseph K. Cunningham | SC Ethics Public Reporting

Cunningham’s voting record: Joe Cunningham – South Carolina House Democrat – Bill Sponsor

Republican

Harrison Musselwhite (Trucker Bob)

“If you want a governor for South Carolina like Ron DeSantis, that will get things done for the people of South Carolina. On June 14th vote for Harrison and we will get things done for South Carolina together. Short-term plans are very simple, and they’ll begin on day one.

“If the legislature does not do their job, day one, we will be signing three executive orders.

“The first executive order will say this: There will be no unconstitutional federal vaccine mandates in the state of South Carolina.

“Executive order number two: There will be no [Critical Race Theory] or socialist-like indoctrination in the state of South Carolina in our public schools.

“Executive order number three: There will be no smartcards or vaccine passports in the state of South Carolina, period.

“We are immediately going to cut taxes and cut regulations so that just like when President Trump did it in 2017, so that our businesses will be able to thrive and grow and invest in new employees and new materials and new businesses.

Infrastructure

“The corridor of shame from the southern part of I-95 all the way up to the northern part from Georgia to North Carolina. That corridor has been left behind. So what we have to do is we have to, number one, get the people educated. And I’m not just talking about four-year college degrees. I’m talking about technical degrees. Because before you bring in industry.

“Industry has to have the workers. They have to have welders. They have to have pipefitters, they have to have machinery. So we want to work in these areas to expand our technical colleges and then work with businesses.

“Yes, that means giving them tax breaks to come in and invest their resources in South Carolina so that we can help the people in the corridor of shame and no longer call it the corridor of shame.

Business Development

“In fact, where I work at the Donaldson Center is a perfect example. The Donaldson Center was given to Greenville County by the federal government who use to have an Air Force base there. That area sat undeveloped for years, but Greenville expanded grants and different things to help get the welders, the pipe fitters, the machinist, and then small businesses attracted to the Donaldson Center area. And now think about what does Donaldson have? We’ve got Lockheed. We’ve got several big chemical companies that surround there. All of these came in because the county worked with the state.

“They increased opportunities in education, and that brought in the small businesses. So we’ve right here in Greenville, South Carolina, we have the blueprint, and we’re going to put it statewide.

“Let’s start with the roads. Of course, most folks know that I am a CDL, [commercial driver license holder], a certified driver trainer for Dana Companies, and I have traveled 48 of our 50 states.

“And I’ll be honest. South Carolina doesn’t have the worst roads but North Carolina to the north, Georgia to the south, have much better roads that we do. As soon as you leave Georgia on I-95 and come into South Carolina, you know you’re in South Carolina because of the difference in the roads.

“So that would be the first thing. We have over $1,000,000,000 surplus sitting in D.O.T. coffers. It shouldn’t be that way. I understand having a surplus, but that billion dollars should right now be going to fix I-95 from the Georgia border to the North Carolina border. We’re going to force D.O.T. to partner with our communities to get local roads and highways.

Gun Control

“Well, as our next governor. I will stand on the statehouse steps, and when they come to take away our Second Amendment and to take away our guns on behalf of us, we the people of South Carolina, on behalf of our constitutional and God-given rights, I will look them dead in the eye and I will say ‘Gates of hell! No! Go back to where you came from.

Abortion Rights

“We’re going to create a culture of life for the people of South Carolina. We believe that life starts at conception and that comes from Jeremiah. I believe it is Jeremiah [1:5], but according to God’s word, God said he knew you before you were even in the womb. So if he knew you, you existed.

“We believe what God said, that life begins at conception and we will enforce that here in the south, the state of South Carolina. We will protect all lives in the womb and outside the womb.

Health

“We will begin replacing the DHEC (Department of Health and Environmental Control) officials with competent South Carolina patriots who are competent in their profession and who also remember their Hippocratic Oath, and their Hippocratic Oath is this do no harm?

“Well, let me tell you what, DHEC, during COVID, did a lot of harm. And we, the people of South Carolina, are going to hold those corrupt, inept bureaucrats accountable. First of all, they will be losing their jobs.

Background

“In 1980, I worked with my mom when President Reagan was 1980 victorious presidential campaign. In 1981 I escorted my mom to President Reagan’s inaugural ball at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

“Ever since then I have been a constitutional conservative Republican. In 1983 I married my childhood sweetheart Sharon Musselwhite, who is also the mother of my seven children. And we’re very blessed to have seven children and five grandchildren. In 1997 we moved our family from Virginia to here to the greatest state in the United States of America, South Carolina, and we began a small business with an $18,000 loan. Within two years we were able to turn that $18,000 into a multimillion-dollar business.

“Unfortunately in 2001 my wife was diagnosed with a fatal lung disease called sarcoidosis. It’s a very wicked disease. She was given two to three years to live by the practicing physicians, and we’re thankful for practicing physicians, don’t get me wrong, but my wife Sharon and myself and our children, we serve the great physician and he had different plans over a period of 11 years.

“He healed my wife. But during that period I had to make a choice. Do I help my wife get better or do I focus on increasing and growing the business? And I made the right choice. I made the eternal choice. We sold the business and we worked on getting Sharon and better.

“And thank God she’s still with us today. She is in very good health. God healed my wife. So in 2012, it was time to get back in the business world. Well, guess what? There was nothing in the business world. The only job left was truck driver, and I did have that talent.

“So you do what you have to do to provide for your family. And that’s what I did. And thank God over the years I’ve been promoted. I am now the lead driver trainer for Dana Transport, which is the second largest chemical transporter in the nation. And I’m [managing] three states. I’m over South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. We have over 200 drivers just in those three states underneath me.

Trucker Bob

“Bob is a real life handle. I was given that handle in Arizona. I was at a truck stop there and they asked me my name. I said Harrison Musselwhite, and they said, ‘Man, you’re Bob.’

“So ever since then, that was several years ago, that has been my handle. Trucker Bob.

Final Thoughts

“If the folks like [Florida Gov.] Ron DeSantis, I want you all to think about what Ron DeSantis is getting done for the people of Florida. If you like Ron DeSantis, you’re going to love Governor Harrison. Because everything he’s doing and Florida, we will work with the legislature and legislature and get it done right here in South Carolina.

Musselwhite’s campaign financing: Quarter 1, 2022 Report | Clarence H. Musselwhite, III | SC Ethics Public Reporting

Ron DeSantis’ voting record