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Lt. Gov. Bryant announces run for South Carolina governor

Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant (FILE)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant is officially entering the 2018 governor's race.

Bryant's announcement Friday in his hometown of Anderson makes him the fourth candidate competing for the Republican nomination next June. No one has announced a bid as a Democrat.

Bryant says he made the decision after praying with his family.

The 50-year-old pharmacist became lieutenant governor in January after Nikki Haley's confirmation as United Nations ambassador made Henry McMaster governor and created a vacancy in the lieutenant governor's office. Bryant was the only Republican senator willing to step into a role largely viewed as ceremonial.

Bryant's expected to appeal to social conservatives. During his 12 years as senator, Bryant was among the Legislature's staunchest abortion foes.

He also helped found the Senate's libertarian William Wallace Caucus.

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