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South Carolina governor candidate still has not filed campaign report

April 13, 2017 GMT

COLUMBIA — Former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill, the first candidate to announce a run for South Carolina governor in 2018, still has not filed his latest campaign disclosure report.

The state-mandated deadline passed Monday.

McGill, who has raised more than $300,000 in his campaign though the end of last year, has not responded to phone messages left by The Post and Courier since Friday.

Efforts Wednesday to learn about the campaign’s status from people being paid with contributions from McGill’s coffers shed little light on the Williamsburg County Republican’s bid for the governor’s mansion. They referred questions to a campaign employee who said she could not give answers or said they would pass messages to McGill.

Nora Hristova, director of events and fundraising for Yancey McGill for Governor, said Wednesday “someone else other than me” would need to talk to a reporter about the campaign.

“I’m not sure who will be calling you back,” she said, promising to forward a message. No one from the McGill camp called later Wednesday.

The South Carolina Republican Party said Wednesday it has no indication that McGill dropped out of the race that he joined over a year ago. The Kingstree real estate broker and homebuilder spoke at the Georgetown County GOP Convention on Saturday, said Hope Walker, executive director of the state Republican Party.

McGill still has some time to file his campaign disclosure report covering the first three months of 2017 before being hit with a fine. He will receive a $100 fine for not filing within five days of the deadline, which was midnight Monday.

Fines could rise to a maximum of $5,000 depending on when the campaign report — which shows contributions and spending — is received by the state Ethics Commission.

McGill, 64, is vying for the GOP nomination against Gov. Henry McMaster, a 69-year-old state Republican stalwart who raised $960,000 since late January, and Catherine Templeton, a 46-year-old former state health and labor agencies boss who raised $700,000 this year. Both filed their reports before the deadline.

McGill is considered a long-shot because he switched to the Republican Party last year after a generation in the state Senate as a Democrat. He spent seven months as lieutenant governor in 2014-15 after Glenn McConnell resigned to become president at the College of Charleston.

McGill did not run for a full term as lieutenant governor in 2014, a race won by McMaster.

McGill’s gubernatorial campaign has spent more than half of the $329,000 raised through the end of 2016, according to the latest campaign records on file.

He has spent: nearly $25,000 in auto-related expenses, including a car lease; more than $15,000 in travel-related expenses, including flights to Dallas and 20 charges to a Marriott hotel in Greenville; and $51,000 in unspecified “professional services,” a bulk of which has been provided by two employees tied to McGill family businesses.

Darlene Chandler, a broker at John Yancey McGill Real Estate in Kingstree, has received $12,000 in campaign payments for “professional services.” Asked Wednesday what she did for the McGill campaign, Chandler said only, “Different things.” She said she would ask McGill to call a reporter.

Alexia Cortez, who is listed as director of finance and accounting at Columbia-based McGill Industries on her Linkedin profile, received the largest chunk of money of anyone from the campaign — $21,100 for unspecified “professional services.”

McGill Industries is registered to McGill’s son, John Jr., according to state corporation records. A phone number listed on the McGill Industries website is no longer working. Calls to another number for a subsidiary, Strategic Capital Solutions, went unanswered.

McGill paid Greenville’s Smoak Public Relations $12,000 under “professional services.” Laura Beth Kirsop, an account executive at the firm who has worked with the campaign, referred questions to Hristova on Wednesday.

Under “payroll,” the campaign has paid the most to Nick Bautista of Columbia, who received $12,100 through the end of the year. Efforts to reach Bautista on Wednesday were unsuccessful.