COLUMBIA — Gov. Henry McMaster continues raising more money than Catherine Templeton in the Republican race for governor, but his chief rival has more money in the bank heading into the final two weeks of the primary.

McMaster raised a little more than $300,000 since April 1 versus nearly $250,000 for Templeton, a former two-time state agency head running in her first election, according to pre-primary campaign reports filed with the state Ethics Commission late Monday. 

But Templeton has about $1 million to spend, while McMaster, a former attorney general and lieutenant governor, holds about $770,000 after a large ad-buying spree.

They might want to hang on to same of that cash.

A runoff is expected in the five-candidate Republican race between McMaster and either Templeton or John Warren, a Greenville real estate lender who has contributed $3 million to his campaign.

Templeton and Warren are touting themselves as political outsiders who can rid state government of waste and corruption that has taken place while McMaster held elected office. McMaster is promoting his experience as a better path for improving the state's economy and winning fights with the state's powerful Legislature.

McMaster has raised nearly $4.4 million in his bid to win a full term as governor after taking over for Nikki Haley when she left in early 2017 to become the United Nations ambassador.

His haul is more than the $4 million Haley spent to win the 2010 governor's race through the general election. McMaster lost to Haley, then a little-known lawmaker, in the GOP primary that year.

Over the past two months, McMaster paid for $2 million in ads, state records show. Templeton has shelled out about $1.5 million for TV and online spots.

Both also are getting significant help from third-party groups airing ads on their behalf.  

Overall, Templeton has raised nearly $3.6 million in the campaign, considered an impressive tally for a political newcomer. 

Candidates are required to file pre-election campaign finance reports within 15 days of the primary.

The three other Republicans seeking the nomination for governor — Warren, Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant and former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill — had not filed reports as of early Tuesday, according to online state records. 

The three Democrats running  — Charleston businessman Phil Noble, state Rep. James Smith and Florence attorney Marguerite Willis — also had not submitted pre-primary disclosure reports.

The primary takes place June 12.

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Columbia Bureau Chief

Shain runs The Post and Courier's team based in South Carolina's capital city. He was editor of Free Times and has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Charlotte, Columbia and Myrtle Beach.