COLUMBIA — Mike Campbell is again seeking South Carolina’s No. 2 political office, saying he wants to continue the effort he started eight years ago.
The younger son of the late Gov. Carroll Campbell filed on Wednesday for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor. The 45-year-old father of two lost a 2006 primary runoff – his first run for political office – by just 2.5 percentage points to then-Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer.
Campbell said he didn’t consider running again until Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell announced in January he would not seek election. Campbell said he wants to continue McConnell’s outstanding job overseeing the state’s Office on Aging, saying he brings his family’s unique, hands-on perspective to one of the main duties of the lieutenant governor’s office.
His father died of a heart attack in 2005 at age 65 after a four-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Some of the issues seniors are faced with, we have a personal experience with,” Campbell told the AP before filing. He added he also wants to help the caregivers who often get overlooked: “The sacrifices they make are just tremendous.”
Campbell has the benefit of a popular last name, cited repeatedly earlier this year as the Legislature finally – after an 11-year debate – passed a law splitting up the Budget and Control Board and creating a Cabinet-level Department of Administration. At the ceremonial bill signing last month, Gov. Nikki Haley honored the elder Campbell for starting the effort of restructuring state government 21 years earlier. Surrounded at the podium by the Campbell family, Haley asked Mike Campbell to speak.
While he was flattered and humbled, he said, that played no role in his decision to run.
“Obviously, anything we can do to continue the work he did for the state absolutely we want to do,” he said.
Haley has said she’s staying out of the lieutenant governor’s race.
The two-week filing period with the state Election Commission began Sunday. All statewide offices, state and U.S. House seats and both U.S. Senate seats are up for election this year.
Other candidates to file so far include two of Campbell’s opponents: Republican Pat McKinney, a retired Charleston developer, who announced his candidacy last fall, and four-term Democratic state Rep. Bakari Sellers. His father, Cleveland Sellers, was the only man imprisoned – and later pardoned – for the 1968 civil rights protest known as the Orangeburg Massacre.
Republican Ray Moore, whose platform includes encouraging parents to take their children out of public schools for Christian or home schooling, has announced intentions to run.
The lieutenant governor’s official duties include presiding over the South Carolina Senate and overseeing the Office on Aging – a role added after Bauer sought more responsibility.
Starting in 2018, the governor and lieutenant governor will run on the same ticket. The lieutenant governor on that winning ticket will no longer preside over the Senate. Voters approved that change to the state constitution in 2012.
Campbell said he has not begun fundraising yet. McKinney had nearly $538,000 available to spend as of January, his last campaign disclosure with the state Election Commission. That includes a $245,000 loan to himself. Sellers had $85,000 cash on hand as of his January disclosure. Their next quarterly statements are due in April. Moore had $3,900 when he filed his initial disclosure three weeks ago.
Candidates have until March 30 to file with the state Election Commission, which involves submitting paperwork and paying fees to run in the Democratic or Republican primaries. The fees are calculated based on an office’s salary. The lieutenant governor makes $46,500 a year. Candidates for that job pay a filing fee of $1,862.
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