The battle for the right to challenge Republican Gov. Henry McMaster in a possible GOP primary runoff is heating up.
Ahead of Tuesday night's debate, Greenville businessman John Warren unveiled a new website jabbing Mount Pleasant labor attorney Catherine Templeton over her 2010 vote for the then-Democratic candidate for governor, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen; her 2015 comments critical of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump; and her two no-bid consulting contracts with state agencies.
The website, TempletonDoesntCutIt.com, mocks Templeton's repeated references to herself as a "conservative buzzsaw," featuring a photo of her in front of a rotating circular saw.
It is Warren's second attack website of the primary campaign. He launched HypocriteHenry.com ahead of a GOP debate last week in an effort to portray McMaster's actions as inconsistent with his stated policy stances.
Warren and Templeton have taken a few light swipes at each other in recent Republican debates. But Warren's website appears to signal an escalating fight for second place in the June 12 primary and a berth in a possible June 26 runoff, where McMaster would be far more vulnerable.
"Catherine Templeton's record speaks volumes," Warren said in a news release. "She doesn't show up to vote in Republican presidential primaries, but she makes time to vote for liberal Democrat Vincent Sheehen. Republicans deserve a true conservative outsider they can trust as governor. That's why I'm running."
R.J. May, Templeton's campaign manager, fired back, saying Warren has "clearly had plenty of practice talking like a politician."
"But here are the facts: Catherine Templeton is a conservative outsider. She’s the only candidate Nikki Haley asked to be part of her cabinet and the only candidate President Trump offered a job in his administration," May said. "This desperate website is nothing but a typical false political attack from the good old boys, and voters will see right through it.”
Warren entered the race in February with a pile of his own cash, and has released a flurry of TV and radio ads promoting his time as a Marine officer and career as the owner of a mortgage lender.