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South Carolina Democratic governor candidate releases tax returns

John A. Carlos II (copy)

S.C. Rep. James Smith speaks at an anti-offshore drilling rally at S.C. Statehouse in February. John A. Carlos II / Special to The Post and Courier

COLUMBIA — Democratic state Rep. James Smith earned an average of nearly $250,000 a year during a recent three-year span — putting him middle of the pack for the eight candidates running for governor.

Smith, the top Democratic fundraiser in the race, did not release his tax returns with other candidates at the request of The Post and Courier last month but allowed reporters to review them Thursday.

Between 2014 and 2016 the Columbia attorney and his artist wife, Kirkland, earned the bulk of their total income from their salaries. They also generated some additional business and rental income.

Smith paid an average of $9,100 in taxes a year. He contributed more than $17,000 to charity.

His family’s income came in the middle of his Democratic challengers.

Charleston businessman Phil Noble and his wife averaged $101,000 in total income from 2014-16.

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Florence attorney Marguerite Willis and her husband earned nearly $1.6 million on average in 2015 and 2016. She did not release 2014 returns. Willis loaned her campaign $300,000.

Among Republicans, Mount Pleasant attorney Catherine Templeton’s family earned the most, at an average of $1 million a year between 2014 and 2016.

Greenville businessman John Warren’s income averaged $480,000 a year, while Gov. Henry McMaster earned $433,000.

Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant, an Anderson pharmacy owner, made $157,000. Former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill earned $121,000 a year, mainly from retirement benefits.

The primary is June 12.

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