SC Gov. McMaster taps Columbia-based GOP political strategist to lead 2022 campaign

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Gov. Henry McMaster this week tapped a veteran Republican political strategist to head his 2022 reelection campaign as still no primary challenger has publicly announced a bid to run against the incumbent next summer.

Mark Knoop, a Columbia-based political strategist who most recently was U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s political director in the Seneca Republican’s win against Democrat Jaime Harrison, joins McMaster as campaign manager. Knoop is a well-known political consultant across South Carolina, having worked on various campaigns, including for U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson and, his son, Attorney General Alan Wilson.

“Mark is a real political talent who knows South Carolina inside and out, and we are excited to have him lead our team as we share the message of our state’s great successes and bright future with the voters over the next 18 months,” McMaster said in a provided statement.

The governor has slowly been building out his campaign while no other Republican has publicly declared a challenge.

Tim Pearson, a former Nikki Haley aide, will be McMaster’s general consultant, the same role he had for McMaster’s 2018 bid for governor.

Upstate businessman John Warren — who pushed McMaster into a 2018 runoff — and Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, R-Edgfield, are the likeliest to enter the race in the coming months, though neither has declared.

“Gov. McMaster has a proven record of putting South Carolina taxpayers and businesses first, keeping the economy strong through this historic pandemic, and fighting to protect our borders, our elections, and our Constitution,” Knoop said in a provided statement. “I’m excited to join Gov. McMaster’s team.”

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