COLUMBIA — Republican Gov. Henry McMaster loaned his campaign $100,000 in the week before the Nov. 6 election despite raising a near-state record amount of money to seal his win over Democrat James Smith.
McMaster, running in his seventh statewide election, raised more than $7.5 million by the end of October, but it appears that was not enough to cover his bills as the race entered its final days, according to campaign disclosures filed this week.
The loan on Oct. 30 came as the governor spent close to $1 million in ads in the race's final month.
The loan was needed to help with cash flow as pledges arrived into the governor's election coffers, McMaster campaign spokeswoman Caroline Anderegg said.
McMaster continued to raise money after the last-minute loan, which he repaid on Nov 19, state campaign filings show. He had $278,000 in the bank as of the new year.
In the latest filings that cover the campaign's final two weeks of the campaign, McMaster continued to out-raise Smith — $627,000 to $317,000 — in a race that the governor won his first full term by 8 percentage points. McMaster was promoted from lieutenant governor in 2017 when Nikki Haley resigned to become United Nations ambassador.
Overall, McMaster, who benefited from the backing by President Donald Trump, raised nearly $8.1 million to Smith's $3.2 million during the campaign.
The governor's haul fell just short of the state campaign record-high set by Haley when she raised $8.4 million in her decisive 2014 re-election. But the 2018 governor's race was the most expensive in South Carolina history after competitive primaries for both parties.
Eight candidates combined to spend $21.5 million, which surpassed the 2010 election by more than $3.5 million, according to an analysis of state data.
Just as he had during much of the race, Smith, a former state representative who had support from former Vice President Joe Biden, raised a greater percentage of his campaign money from inside South Carolina than McMaster.
With Election Day approaching, Smith did receive contributions from actor Tom Hanks and his wife ($500), "Princess Bride" director Rob Reiner ($2,000) and "All in the Family" producer Norman Lear and his wife ($1,000).
McMaster continued to gather a larger share of his contributions from businesses than Smith. Corporate donations accounted for close to half of the governor's haul.
The governor was favored to win in a state dominated by Republicans, a large majority of whom favor Trump.