Longtime Democratic legislator James Smith has officially announced his campaign for governor, ending months of speculation.
Smith, 50, the only Democrat in the 2018 race, opened a campaign account last month.
“All of my life, I have felt the call to service,” said Smith, a member of the S.C. House of Representatives and a major in the S.C. Army National Guard, in a news release announcing his candidacy. “I see the potential of our state. I see what we can be. But I also see what’s getting in the way.”
Smith, first elected to the House in 1996, deployed to Afghanistan in 2007, serving as a combat advisor to Afghan security forces. In 2008, “I came home a different man, and believed I could do more,” Smith said.
Gov. Henry McMaster, who became governor when Nikki Haley was confirmed as U.S. United Nations ambassador in January, is seeking his first full term. His announced Republican challengers are Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant, former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill and Catherine Templeton.
“I am running for governor because I feel like I must do all that I can to fight for the people of South Carolina,” said Smith, whose campaign also launched a website. “I am running because I want South Carolina to realize her fullest potential.”
Read Smith’s full announcement here.