|| by Will Galloway ||
Columbia – Mount Pleasant attorney and Republican gubernatorial hopeful Catherine Templeton has selected Greenville County Solicitor Walt Wilkins as her running mate. This is an aspirational position, which means that it will only matter if Templeton wins the Republican nomination.
Who is Wilkins?
Wilkins is the solicitor (chief prosecutor) of the 13th circuit, which includes Greenville and Pickens Counties. He comes from a strong political family in the upstate – his father Billy Wilkins is a former solicitor and federal judge, and his uncle David Wilkins is a former speaker of the SC House of Representatives and US Ambassador to Canada.
Why did Templeton pick him?
Wilkins’ geography is probably the most meaningful insight into why Templeton chose him. Polling seems to indicate that there will almost certainly be a runoff between Governor Henry McMaster and either Templeton or Greenville Businessman John Warren.
When Warren entered the race, he totally reset it, and has locked down extensive of support in the Greenville area (Warren has been endorsed by Greenville mayor Knox White). Templeton would have to top Warren on June 12, and she seems to be hoping that Wilkins can help her in Warren’s geographic base.
Will it work?
I’m not sure. Wilkins certainly has an impressive pedigree, and nearly every comment I’ve heard about him has been positive, but his extensive political experience may not totally line up with Templeton’s “Conservative Outsider” message.
More important is the Warren Factor. Warren’s campaign seems to be catching fire, and I’m not convinced that any running mate selection by any candidate will have a significant impact on the state of the race.