Yancey McGill

Then-Sen. Yancey McGill (right) talks with outgoing Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell before McGill was sworn in as the state’s new lieutenant governor in 2014. File

Former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill said Monday that his gubernatorial campaign staff filed his campaign disclosure report late because he had surgery a week ago.

McGill told The Post and Courier that he could not return calls last week because he was on pain medication and his staff was unsure how to handle questions about the surgery to reporters, so they provided no information.

“There’s been very little communication,” he said in a telephone interview, the first time he has spoken publicly other than issuing a short statement late last week.

McGill apologized for his campaign’s silence at a time when candidates for the 2018 governor’s race were filing their campaign reports for the first three months of the year.

“The lesson learned here is that you always share what you’re doing if you’re running for public office,” said the former state senator and lieutenant governor. “If I had shared this, it would never would have been an issue.”

McGill said he is recovering from an April 10 surgery on his sagging eyelids, which blocked 25 percent of his vision. He still has stitches and has canceled campaign stops in the Lowcountry. He hopes to resume campaigning later this week.

McGill said he was told by his staff before the surgery that his campaign disclosure report would be filed by the deadline on April 10. He said he has not spoken to his staff about why they did not file it until Friday.

“I will find out,” he said. “I’ve got a new staff with me. They are all young and having to learn.”

McGill raised much less than his two rivals for the Republican nomination for governor during the first three months of 2017.

The Kingstree real estate broker and homebuilder gathered $57,500 versus $960,000 for Gov. Henry McMaster and $700,000 for former state health and labor agency boss Catherine Templeton. 

McGill was the first candidate to enter the 2018 governor's race, starting his run a year ago by switching from the Democratic Party in the heavily leaning Republican state.

He has raised a total of $386,500 in the past year, most of which has come from the counties he served as a state senator, including Horry, Florence and Berkeley.

McGill, 64, said he would have gathered more cash if he didn’t take a long break from fundraising after Hurricane Matthew in October. The storm’s damage came mostly along the coast. He has about $100,000 on hand in his campaign account.

Considered a long shot to win the GOP nod, McGill said he has a series of fundraisers planned to bolster his campaign war chest and collect on some early pledges from donors. 

“We have built a lot of bridges,” he said. “This race is wide open.”

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Columbia Bureau Chief

Shain is Columbia Bureau Chief for The Post and Courier. He was editor of Free Times and was a reporter and editor at The State, The Charlotte Observer and The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News.