Henry McMaster - Republican

Henry McMaster was elected Attorney General is 2002 and re-elected without opposition in 2006. In that capacity, he also served as Securities Commissioner of South Carolina until leaving office in January 2011. He is now in private practice in Columbia.

Mr. McMaster served as United States Attorney for South Carolina from 1981 to 1985 upon appointment by President Ronald Regan and unanimous Senate confirmation. He was the first U.S. Attorney President Reagan appointed. He also served on the U.S. Attorney General’s advisory Committee during that time.

Mr. McMaster received his A.B. degree in history from the University of South Carolina in 1969 and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1973, where he was a member of the Law Review. He then served as a legislative aide to Senator Strom Thurmond in Washington before entering private practice in Columbia in 1974 with Tompkins and McMaster, established 1898. He practiced defense litigation until taking office as Attorney General in January 2003.

In 1974, Mr. McMaster completed training at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. From 1990 to 1994, he served on the South Carolina Commission of Higher Education. He served in the U.S. Army Reserves (JAG) from 1969 to 1975, receiving an honorable discharge.

In 1993, Mr. McMaster was elected chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party. He was re-elected in 1996, 1998 and 2000, resigning in 2002 to successfully run for Attorney General. He also served on the Republican National Committee during this time. The state GOP set new fundraising and election records during his tenure.

As United States Attorney, Mr. McMaster launched “Operation Jackpot”, the interdisciplinary financial investigation into international drug smuggling, producing over 100 convictions. As Attorney General, Mr. McMaster has built innovative teams against internet child predators (over 200 have been arrested) and dog fighting. In 2005, he persuaded the General Assembly to grant the State Grand Jury authority to investigate and prosecute white-collar environmental crimes. In 2003, he led an effort against domestic violence, deputizing private attorneys as special pro-bono prosecutors and establishing centralized special domestic violence courts in most counties producing over 2000 convictions to date. To protect South Carolina’s Catawba River basin water supply, in 2007 he took the state’s case against North Carolina to the U.S. Supreme Court, the 138th case that Court has accepted in its original jurisdiction, and successfully secured the resolution he sought. When Carolina Investors and Home Gold collapsed in 2003, costing 8,000 investors over $278 million in savings, he persuaded the General Assembly to extend the State Grand Jury’s jurisdiction to securities crimes, producing convictions of the six executives responsible.

Mr. McMaster is admitted to practice in all courts, state and federal, in South Carolina, the U.S. Court of Claims (1974), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (1975) and the U.S. Supreme Court (1978).

In February 2011, Mr. McMaster was appointed Senior Advisor for the University of South Carolina, his alma mater, to assist in institutional development, fundraising and alumni relations. In June 2011, Mr. McMaster was appointed by the Governor of South Carolina to the board of the South Carolina State Ports Authority.

Mr. McMaster received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Newberry College in 2009. He received the Order of the Palmetto in 1996. In 2004, he was named Sierra Club’s Public Servant of the Year. In 2005, the Humane Society of the United States named him the National law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

Born in Columbia, Mr. McMaster is the son of John Gregg McMaster and the late Ida Dargan McMaster. He and his wife, Peggy, have two children, Henry, Jr. and Mary Rogers. They attend First Presbyterian Church where he is a lifelong member. Associations include the St. Andrew’s Society and the Columbia Rotary Club. His father, John Gregg McMaster, also a graduate of the University of South Carolina and its law school, is the senior practicing attorney in South Carolina.

Bakari Sellers - Democratic

A resident of Denmark, South Carolina Bakari Sellers has served in the South Carolina Statehouse since 2006.  At the time of his election he was the youngest serving member of the House of Representatives, and in the years since has proven to be one of the body’s most effective leaders.

The son of civil rights leader Dr. Cleveland Sellers and Gwendolyn Sellers, Bakari learned at a young age the importance of public service.  He was Student Government Association President and a member of the Board of Trustees at Morehouse College and earned his JD from the University of South Carolina.  Sellers served as a member of the South Carolina Steering Committee of Obama for America 2007-2008.  He is a member of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church.