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SC’s McMaster announces plans for gubernatorial inauguration

November 27, 2018

FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, file photo, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster speaks to the crowd during his watch party in Columbia, S.C. McMaster is announcing official plans to ring in his first full term. McMaster will be sworn in during a ceremony on Jan. 9, 2019, on the Statehouse steps in Columbia. A prayer service will be held beforehand at First Presbyterian Church, where McMaster regularly attends. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced plans on Tuesday to ring in his first full term.

McMaster will be sworn in during a January 9 ceremony on the Statehouse steps in Columbia. That follows a prayer service at First Presbyterian Church, where McMaster regularly attends, rather than Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.

The move to McMaster’s home church reflects his status as the first Columbia native elected as South Carolina governor in more than 100 years.

After an open house at the Governor’s Mansion, McMaster will celebrate at an inaugural ball at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. All official events except the ball are open to the public.

Along with his wife, Linda, Bill Stern is chairing McMaster’s inaugural committee. The Columbia developer, GOP donor and chairman of the South Carolina Ports Authority is a longtime ally of McMaster’s, helping in his transition from lieutenant governor to the state’s top office when Nikki Haley left in early 2017 to join the Trump administration as U.N. ambassador.

Like McMaster, Stern was an early backer of Donald Trump’s 2016 White House bid, endorsing the businessman several weeks after McMaster did so, surprising the state’s Republican establishment. Stern, who had served on the finance committee of U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s presidential campaign, went on to serve as the inaugural chairman of the Trump campaign’s Southeastern Business Coalition.

Stern also served as finance chairman for McMaster’s campaign this year. He chaired the committee for Gov. Mark Sanford’s second inaugural in 2007.

“Under Gov. McMaster’s leadership, South Carolina has a lot to celebrate; we look forward to an event that highlights the beauty and strength of our state and the boundless opportunity that lies ahead,” Stern said in a release. Officials said more event details would be disclosed in the coming days.

McMaster defeated Democratic state Rep. James Smith in the Nov. 6 general election.

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Meg Kinnard can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.

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