James Smith election night (copy)

James Smith, a Columbia-area attorney and longtime statehouse lawmaker, won the Democratic primary for governor Tuesday night. File/Andrew Brown/Staff

COLUMBIA — A week after winning the Democratic primary for South Carolina governor, James Smith has parted ways with his campaign manager.

Mike McCauley, a veteran of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, left Smith's team Wednesday, a move that both sides described as a mutual decision as the campaign shifts into a new gear for the general election.

“Mike joined this campaign to help us win the primary," Smith said. "As evidenced by our landslide win of 62 percent, he did a remarkable job. We are grateful for his help.”

Smith topped two Democratic opponents — Florence attorney Marguerite Willis and Charleston businessman Phil Noble — in the June 12 primary to win the party's nomination outright.

He will face the winner of next week's GOP primary runoff between Gov. Henry McMaster and Greenville businessman John Warren in November.

McCauley said he appreciated the opportunity to guide him through the primary process, which at times appeared more competitive than many political observers initially expected.

A Columbia attorney and combat veteran, Smith enjoyed broad support from the Democratic Party establishment in South Carolina thanks to relationships built over 22 years as a state lawmaker.

"I was proud to work for James and I'm proud to support him in this race for governor," McCauley said.

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The search for a new campaign manager is underway, and the campaign has been coordinating with the national Democratic Governors' Association on next steps. The rest of Smith's senior staff is staying on with the campaign, according to spokeswoman Alyssa Miller.

McCauley was Smith's third campaign manager. He replaced Adam Zuckerman in February, who had replaced Isaiah Nelson in January.

McMaster also shook up his campaign team in January, a day before delivering his State of the State address.

Follow Jamie Lovegrove on Twitter @jslovegrove.

Jamie Lovegrove is a political reporter covering the South Carolina Statehouse, congressional delegation and campaigns. He previously covered Texas politics in Washington for The Dallas Morning News and in Austin for the Texas Tribune.

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