Henry Dargan McMaster

87th Governor of the State of South Carolina 2017 to Present

Date Born: May 27, 1947

Date Died: Living

Place Born: Columbia, SC

Place Buried: TBD

Residence: Richland County, SC

Occupation: Attorney


University of South Carolina, B.A. in History: Graduated in 1969
University of South Carolina Law School - Graduated in 1973

U.S. Attorney - 1981-1985

Chair of the S.C. Republican Party - 1991-2001

S.C. Attorney General - 2003-2011

S.C. Lieutenant Governor - 2015-2017

Governor of South Carolina: 2017 -


Henry Dargan McMaster was born on May 27, 1947 in Columbia, South Carolina. He is the eldest son of William Appleby McMaster, a storekeeper, and Linda Ann (nee Beljambe), of Charleston, South Carolina. He received a bachelor's degree in history from the University of South Carolina in 1969. As an undergraduate, he was a member of Kappa Alpha Order and the South Carolina Student Legislature. In 1973, he graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law where he served on the Editorial Board of the South Carolina Law Review. Later that year, he was admitted to the South Carolina Bar, the Richland County Bar Association. He served in the United States Army Reserves, receiving his honorable discharge in 1975.

Upon graduation from law school, Mr. McMaster worked as a Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond in Washington, D.C. until 1974, when he joined the firm of Tompkins and McMaster. He was admitted to practice before the federal Court of Claims in 1974, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in 1975 and in 1978, upon motion of Senator Thurmond, the Supreme Court of the United States. For almost 29 years, McMaster practiced law, both as a federal prosecutor and in private practice, having represented clients in the state and federal courts, trial and appellate.

Due to the recommendation of Senator Thurmond, Mr. McMaster was nominated by President Ronald Reagan as United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina in 1981—Reagan's first nomination for U.S. Attorney. McMaster was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 21, 1981. He headed the South Carolina Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee from 1981 to 1985. McMaster completed his four-year term as U.S. Attorney in 1985.

In 1986, after considering races for South Carolina Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General, Mr. McMaster won a spirited primary for the Republican nomination for the U. S. Senate. He was defeated by incumbent Ernest Hollings. In 1990, he won another contested primary and was the Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor, losing to incumbent Nick Theodore. In 1991, he was appointed by Governor Carroll A. Campbell, Jr. and confirmed by the S.C. Senate to serve on the state's Commission on Higher Education. He also served on the Board of Directors of the non-profit South Carolina Policy Council from 1991 through 2003, serving as board chairman from 1992 until 1993.

In 1993, Mr. McMaster was elected chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, and was subsequently re-elected by the State Republican Convention in 1996, 1998, and 2000. In this capacity, he also served as a member of the Republican National Committee from 1993 until 2002. Under Mr. McMaster's chairmanship, the Republican Party captured the governorship, several statewide offices and (with party switches) the S.C. House of Representatives in 1994, and finally captured control of the powerful S.C. Senate in 2000. Under Mr. McMaster, the South Carolina GOP also ran highly contentious and successful presidential primaries in 1996 (won by Bob Dole) and 2000 (won by George W. Bush).

In 2002, Mr. McMaster ran for and was elected Attorney General for the state of South Carolina. He was re-elected unopposed in 2006. In 2010, he ran for Governor, but was defeated in the Republican primary, finishing third. He immediately endorsed frontrunner and eventual winner Nikki Haley.

On November 4, 2014, McMaster was elected Lieutenant Governor. On November 23, 2016 President-elect Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate Governor Nikki Haley for Ambassador to the United Nations. On January 24, 2017, Haley was confirmed by the Senate. Shortly after, she resigned as South Carolina governor and Mr. McMaster assumed the governorship.


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