COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina's governor is going after his Democratic opponent for "cozying up" to a big-name Democrat close to the Clintons.

On Wednesday, Gov. Henry McMaster's campaign told The Associated Press that state Rep. James Smith was in Washington this week for a fundraiser with Terry McAuliffe. The campaign says the Democratic gubernatorial hopeful is "cozying up to the most Clinton-loving, DC liberal in the swamp."

McAuliffe was chairman of the Democratic National Committee in the early 2000s. He also headed up campaign efforts for President Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign and chaired Hillary Clinton's 2008 effort. Serving as Virginia governor for a four-year term before leaving office earlier this year, McAuliffe has been mentioned as a possible presidential contender for 2020.

Smith campaign spokesman Brad Warthen confirmed the fundraiser, adding that Smith welcomes support from McAuliffe, as well as members of the host committee, which included former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison and Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin.

"We've got people all across the spectrum supporting us," Warthen said. "It's kind of ridiculous that someone wouldn't want the support of a successful Democratic governor."

Warthen also pointed to a recent newspaper report about an upcoming fundraiser for which several host committee members have made financial contributions to Republicans this year.

Both Smith and McMaster have been doing fundraising ahead of their face-off in the November general election.

"In addition to his fondness for the Clintons, Terry is a gun control advocate with some extreme views," the McMaster campaign told AP. "He's tried to walk the tightrope of reassuring his base of his far-left views while dodging additional questions on his votes to restrict gun rights in the South Carolina House."

McMaster, elevated to the state's top slot last year when Nikki Haley became U.N. ambassador, is seeking his first full term in office.


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