A Beaufort state lawmaker will decide by early September whether to join South Carolina’s gubernatorial race.
State Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, is mulling a run for governor in 2018, he said Tuesday. Davis, a real estate attorney, wants to first talk with his family and law partners at Harvey & Battey and will decide by Labor Day, he said.
Davis said the governor’s office could provide a platform he doesn’t have as a lawmaker in “elevating that debate” for his causes related to limited government.
“And I don’t see anybody right now who is running for governor that is talking about limiting the role of government in society and protecting individual liberty and allowing free markets to work,” Davis said. “I don’t think there’s anybody talking about those issues to the degree the people of South Carolina deserve to hear. ... From that perspective, it’s a green light for me.”
Davis would join a GOP primary that includes incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster, former state agency head Catherine Templeton, Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant and former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill.
In the state spotlight in recent years for filibustering a gas tax hike that finally passed this spring, Davis has long been in the conversation as a potential candidate.
He served as chief of staff to former Gov. Mark Sanford, helped managed Sanford’s campaigns in 2002 and 2006, and pointed to the executive and legislative experience as an asset to his potential candidacy. He was elected last year to a third term as state senator.
Davis said he would work to dismantle a structure he says allows a handful of legislators too much power and has led to problems with the state’s energy policy, roads and education funding, and an underfunded state pension plan.
“And I can talk about that and would talk about that in a way that’s very specific and would inform people and I think have results,” Davis said. “And in a way that I think would have them very responsive.”