A new poll shows Gov. Henry McMaster with a reasonably comfortable lead in the race for the GOP nomination for governor, while Democrats James Smith and Phil Noble are running neck-and-neck. Michigan polling firm Target-Insyght polled 800 South Carolinians, evenly split among Democrats and Republicans. In the GOP race, 46 percent said they would vote for McMaster, while 22 percent said they’d vote for former DHEC chief Catherine Templeton. Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant was a distant third with six percent. Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, longtime state Rep. James Smith and Charleston businessman Phil Noble were tied at 27 percent each, with Florence attorney Marguerite Willis sitting at 21 percent. The primaries are in June. — Chris Trainor

Democrat Running as Republican Against Sanford

Republicans are mad that Dimitri Cherny filed to run as a Republican against U.S. Rep Mark Sanford in the primary this summer. Cherny, who has a tattoo of Bernie Sanders, previously ran as a Democrat. However, Cherny says the 1st Congressional District is so gerrymandered as to make it impossible for a Democrat to win in November. Republicans told The Post and Courier they hope the episode will spur support for something they’ve long wanted: registration by party and closed primaries in South Carolina. And so this year the state Republican Party will ask voters on the primary ballot how they feel about registering to vote by party. Some Republicans believe that unaffiliated voters and voters of other parties muck around in the GOP primary, and that open primaries make it hard to work together as a party. — Eva Moore

Report Shows Issues with Fort Jackson Dam

A report shows that Fort Jackson was not prepared for the historic flood of 2015 which destroyed an earthen dam at the fort, leading to a washout of nearby homes and businesses. According to Sammy Fretwell at The State, “the fort didn’t activate an emergency plan that required officials to notify Richland County of the dam break. Nor did the fort know how to lower water levels in Semmes Lake to relieve pressure on the dam that eventually fell apart.” Those facts were revealed in a 2016 Army report, one that was kept secret until The State challenged that secrecy in court. — Chris Trainor

Mediator Selected for Dreher Talks

Thomas W. Cooper, Jr., a retired circuit judge from Manning, has been selected as a mediator in the fiery hot Dreher athletic facilities debate. In March, Columbia City Council gave a very tentative first reading approval to an ordinance that would rezone Dreher High School’s Millwood Avenue property, making way for the school to construct new competition tennis courts and an artificial turf practice/JV football field — facilities some nearby residents have opposed. Mediation meetings reportedly will take place later this week before a second vote on April 17. — Chris Trainor

All Gov Candidates But One Release Some Tax Info

Earnings of the candidates for S.C. governor vary widely, according to The Post and Courier, with Democrat Marguerite Willis and her husband having earned $1.7 million in 2015, and Democrat Phil Noble and Republicans Kevin Bryant and Yancey McGill having earned an average between $101,000 and $157,000 in each of the previous three years. The only candidate to not release tax returns for The Post and Courier’s story was Democrat James Smith. He has said he will allow media to review his tax returns at a future date. — Eva Moore

S.C. House Approves Solar Bill

The S.C. House voted to approve a bill that will eliminate caps on how much rooftop solar power consumers can sell back to utilities, a move that solar companies and advocates say will expand the market in the state. According to The Post and Courier, anger over the V.C. Summer nuclear plant debacle helped pushed the solar bill to success. However, the paper notes: “Utilities contend ratepayers are being forced to subsidize an industry that has already gotten off the ground and mostly benefits wealthy residents.” — Eva Moore

Bar Ruling Sparks Concerns

A new ruling regarding a Five Points bar could affect bars across the state of South Carolina, experts told The State. A judge ruled last week against granting a state liquor license for The Roost, which used to be the troubled Carolina Pour House, saying it was “not primarily and substantially engaged in the preparation and serving of meals” as state law requires. The ruling could apply to many other bars in Five Points and across the state that have little to no kitchen or menu. — Eva Moore

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