Trump betting on McMaster in South Carolina runoff


WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — President Donald Trump is going all-in for a South Carolina governor in a tense runoff election, betting that his last-minute appearance will help make the difference.

Trump was campaigning late today for Republican Gov. Henry McMaster in West Columbia, returning the favor after McMaster provided Trump with an early endorsement in his presidential campaign. Today's rally carries some political risk for the president if McMaster gets tripped up in Tuesday's primary.

Trump arrived nearly an hour late due to weather conditions. McMaster was among those waiting on the airport tarmac to greet the president.

Vice President Mike Pence joined McMaster at a campaign event on Saturday and the president has deployed his massive Twitter following on McMaster's behalf in recent days. Trump noted he was traveling "to one of my favorite places, South Carolina, to fight for one of my original "fighters," Governor Henry McMaster."

South Carolina Republican voters are choosing between McMaster and Greenville businessman John Warren in a runoff for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. McMaster received the most votes in a June 12 primary but fell short of the 50 percent needed to win the nomination outright, giving Warren an opening.

Trump, predicting a "red wave" in the fall mid-term elections, has been having rallies and campaign events on behalf of several Republicans in recent weeks. He staged one of his signature rallies last week to tout congressional candidates in Minnesota and raised money in Las Vegas on Saturday for Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, one of the most endangered Republican senators on the 2018 ballot.

Trump will travel to Fargo, N.D., on Wednesday for a rally aimed at bolstering Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., who is trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota. The trip will also include a campaign fundraising stop Thursday in Milwaukee.

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