Former Attorney General Henry McMaster's entry into the GOP race for lieutenant governor highlights a crowded field for the state's No. 2 office where just a few weeks ago there was only one contender.

"For this job, experience really does matter," McMaster said in an online video announcement Thursday as he formally filed his candidacy papers.

McMaster served eight years as attorney general, and was picked by President Ronald Reagan as his first U.S. Attorney. He also led the state Republican Party as chairman.

McMaster joins three other GOP candidates in the race, including two who, like him, have close ties to Republican Gov. Nikki Haley.

Retired Charleston developer Pat McKinney had been the lone GOP candidate until this month. He is also Haley's appointee to the State Ports Authority.

Also in the race is Mike Campbell, the younger son of former Gov. Carroll Campbell, whom Haley has referred to in her bid to reform state government.

Ray Moore, president of the Christian prayer and education group Frontline Ministries, is also running in the Republican primary.

On the Democratic side, state Rep. Bakari Sellers of Bamberg has been in the race for some time.

Current Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell said he is not endorsing anyone at the moment. "Right now, I hope the candidates who announce - and this goes for either party - it's who is strong on senior issues," he said, referring to part of the office's duties.

He added "The health challenge of the century is coming at us. I hope whoever gets this job will focus on aging ... that could affect me up the road."

Filing continues through Sunday at noon.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551