The Democratic field for governor expanded this week with the announcement that Phil Noble, an entrepreneur and activist from Charleston, is entering the race.
Noble’s roots in South Carolina politics stretch back decades and this experience may serve him well during the campaign.
His work in the state includes founding the Palmetto Project, which aims to find solutions to the social and economic problems that plague South Carolina. Noble has also worked on civic engagement technology for the United Nations, European Union, and Amnesty International, and is a former fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Running for Governor is an interesting move for Noble, given that he has not previously held elected office. He previously ran for Lieutenant Governor in 1994 and SC Democratic Party Chair in 2011.
He is running on a platform dedicated to education and wants a total overhaul of the current system. Noble is also committed to fighting corruption in government, something that is a hot topic at the moment.
The last time a Democrat won the governor’s mansion — Jim Hodges in 1998 — he also ran on a platform that advocated education reform and a change from Republican incumbent David Beasley’s leadership.
Noble’s challenge now is to win the June 2018 primary in his race against SC Rep. James Smith (D-Columbia).
Smith’s strong record during his two decades in the State House and his military service in Afghanistan may appeal to independent and Republican voters, in addition to the Democratic base.
How the two candidates position themselves — and how Democratic voters respond — will be followed closely by The Palmetto Insider over the coming months.