Bannon to speak in SC alongside GOP gubernatorial challenger

Bannon plans primaries for GOP incumbents
Bannon plans primaries for GOP incumbents


    Bannon plans primaries for GOP incumbents


Bannon plans primaries for GOP incumbents 02:42

Story highlights

  • Steve Bannon will speak in Charleston, South Carolina, on Friday evening
  • He will be introduced by Republican gubernatorial candidate Catherine Templeton

Washington (CNN)Steve Bannon, set to give a speech in Charleston, South Carolina, Friday night, will be introduced by a South Carolina GOP gubernatorial hopeful running against the Republican incumbent.

Catherine Templeton is running to replace incumbent GOP Gov. Henry McMaster, whom Trump has endorsed and who will also be attending Friday's event, where Bannon will be honored with the Nathan Hale Patriot Award from the Citadel Republican Society.
The former White House chief strategist, who has vowed a "season of war against a GOP establishment," has pledged to endorse anti-establishment candidates against incumbent Republicans in races, and he's been flying around the country trying to recruit insurgent candidates.
    It's unclear whether he will endorse a candidate in the South Carolina race, but his appearance will be watched for clues as to whether he will wade in.
    McMaster, who took assumed office when former Gov. Nikki Haley was appointed US Ambassador to the United Nations by Trump, previously served as lieutenant governor and now has the advantage of running as an incumbent in what many imagined would be a wide open race.
    While serving as lieutenant governor, McMaster was the first statewide elected official to endorse Trump's candidacy for president. As a result, Trump had McMaster introduce him at the 2016 Republican National Convention.
    Trump has already waded into the South Carolina governor race himself. Last month, the President flew to Greenville and spoke at a closed-door fundraiser for McMaster.
    It was Trump's first venture back onto the campaign trail since his preferred candidate, Luther Strange, lost the Alabama Republican Senate primary to Bannon-backed Roy Moore.
    "He's a talented guy, and he's doing really well," Trump said of McMaster, according to video posted by The State newspaper of Columbia, South Carolina, last month. "He's a terrific person, a terrific man. ... I'm so happy with the job he's done."
    Templeton served under Haley as head of the state's labor and public health departments. She threw her hat into the governor's race in April after McMaster moved into the governor's mansion upon Haley's move to the UN.
    Despite Templeton's work in the Haley administration and consideration of a spot in Trump's Labor Department, she has labeled herself during her gubernatorial campaign as an "outsider."
    In February, Templeton told The Post and Courier of Charleston that the Trump administration offered her a position at the Labor Department. However, Templeton told the paper she turned it down to focus instead on South Carolina.
    Templeton's campaign said she raised $603,000 to McMaster's $568,000 during the third quarter of the year, marking it the first time she topped the governor during a fundraising cycle, according to campaign finance reports.
    In recent weeks, Templeton has embraced Bannon and expressed her support of the former White House chief strategist. During a recent radio interview, Templeton said Bannon represents "the voice of the rest of us, and we welcome him to South Carolina." Last week, she said she has remained in touch with Bannon after she she met him while interviewing for the role at the Labor Department.
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      Bannon: It's a season of war against GOP


    Bannon: It's a season of war against GOP 01:11
    One thing Bannon and Templeton have in common? Their stance on Confederate monuments. When Bannon served as executive chairman of Breitbart News in 2015 after a white supremacist killed nine African-Americans at Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston, the conservative news outlet published an ode to the Confederate flag, saying it "proclaims a glorious heritage."
    While Templeton, along with most other Republicans in the state, supported Haley's decision to take the flag down from State House grounds soon after the shooting, she has recently said she does not support other Confederate monuments being removed -- an issue that has sparked violence in places around the country, most notably in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past summer. Templeton has said she is "proud of the Confederacy."
    Bannon's speech and Templeton's introduction will take place at the the Citadel Republican Society's Patriot Dinner at Holliday Alumni Center on the campus of the school, which is the military college of South Carolina. Local groups are planning to protest outside of the venue in opposition to Bannon.