Elections

Why SC Dems think Trump won’t help McMaster as much as he hopes

Then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks with South Carolina Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster after McMaster introduced him to a large crowd at the T. Ed Garrison Livestock Arena.
Then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks with South Carolina Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster after McMaster introduced him to a large crowd at the T. Ed Garrison Livestock Arena.

You might think having the sitting president fly in for your fundraiser would be a big boost to a candidate’s campaign. But S.C. Democrats say Gov. Henry McMaster may not benefit as much from President Donald Trump’s visit as the Republican incumbent might hope.

“I think swing voters are tired” of Trump, said Trav Robertson, the S.C. Democratic Party’s chairman. “Trump is not as popular as you might think.”

Speaking to the press ahead of Trump’s visit, Robertson highlighted two issues specific to Greenville, where Trump will speak Monday night, that could put drive a wedge between McMaster and Trump.

One is Trump’s criticism of German automakers, when Germany-based BMW is one of the area’s largest employers. The other is the effect Trump’s efforts to roll back the Affordable Care Act could have on Greenville’s hospital system, another major employer in the county.

“He spits in the face of people here, but he’ll come and take their money,” Robertson said.

Democrats also say McMaster calling in Trump so early is a sign McMaster needs help in a contested GOP primary, where the governor is caught in a tight fundraising race with Catherine Templeton.

Robertson compared McMaster to Luther Strange, the Republican U.S. senator from Alabama who lost his primary race despite an endorsement and campaign appearance from Trump.

Democrats are joining forces with other activist groups to organize protests around Trump’s visit, at the Greenville-Spartanburg airport when the president arrives, and in Greenville’s Falls Park while Trump is at the closed-door fundraiser.

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