John Warren, ex-South Carolina GOP gubernatorial candidate, details leadership lessons in new book

Jul 10, 2023, 8:04 AM

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — John Warren — the multimillionaire businessman who forced South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster into a 2018 GOP runoff — has written a new book, saying he wants to share leadership lessons he has learned from military service and the business world, while leaving open a return to politics for himself.

In “Lead Like a Marine,” which goes on sale Tuesday, Warren says that he and his co-author and fellow Marine and business partner, John Thompson, aim to show how the U.S. Marine Corps’ philosophy of “doing everything for a reason” and emphasis on “shared core values” can be applied to what he sees as institutional failures because of misdirected leadership.

“I really feel like all of these institutions around us are breaking down because of failure of leadership — political, both parties, business, religious organizations, you name it; things are collapsing, and it’s due to bad leadership,” Warren told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “We found that extreme hard work, integrity and honesty, blunt and direct communication, and people really wanting to be part of a team — those are the characteristics that make great leaders. And I just don’t see those in most of our elected officials.”

Warren, 44, served four years on active duty as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps. The book opens with an account of the dramatic April 2016 “unprecedented, sustained attack” on his unit in Ramadi, Iraq, an experience Warren said has shaped his outlook on what tools are necessary to strategically solve problems in the business world.

“Fighting in a Marine unit in a counterinsurgency, where we were developing very unique tactics really caused me to form what we call in the book ‘do everything for a reason,’ as the key strategy, as opposed to ‘do everything,’ ” Warren said. “That’s such a freeing and empowering strategy because it really allows you to look objectively about anything that you’re trying to solve. Most people don’t do that.”

After leaving the military, Warren and Thompson launched Lima One Capital, a specialty mortgage firm named after their Marine unit and headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina.

A late entrant into the 2018 governor’s race, Warren leveraged more than $3 million of his own money to fund his campaign, which catapulted him from political anonymity to second-place finisher in a four-way GOP primary.

a last-minute trip from President Donald Trump to stump for McMaster, a longtime ally and early endorser of Trump’s 2016 campaign.

After that loss, Warren turned back to business. In 2019, he sold his stake in Lima One, then — along with Thompson — founded GEM Mining, a Greenville-based Bitcoin company that launched with more than $200 million in institutional capital.

But Warren has also stayed involved in politics. In 2020, he launched a political action committee, a vehicle often used as the springboard for a political run. His South Carolina’s Conservative Future PAC supported a handful of legislative races that year, ultimately claiming victory in 13 out of the 15 races in which it got involved.

“I want to serve. I think we are desperate for good leaders,” Warren told The Associated Press, saying that his PAC would be “very active” in 2024 races. “I don’t have any plans right now to run for anything, but I’m always interested in serving.”


Meg Kinnard can be reached at

National News

Associated Press

Arizona’s biggest city has driest monsoon season since weather service began record-keeping in 1895

PHOENIX (AP) — After a summer of extreme heat, Arizona’s most populous city is in the record books again. This time Phoenix is notching a record for dry heat. The National Weather Service said the monsoon season this year in the arid Southwest dropped only 0.15 inches (.38 centimeters) of rainfall from June 15 to […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

A woman who fled the Maui wildfire on foot has died after weeks in a hospital burn unit

HONOLULU (AP) — A woman who escaped a wildfire that destroyed Hawaii community by running through a burning field has died after spending more than seven weeks in a hospital burn unit. Laurie Allen died Friday at Straub Medical Center in Honolulu, according to a gofundme page set up for her and her husband, Perry […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Inmate accused of killing corrections officer at Georgia prison

GLENNVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia prison guard died Sunday after he was attacked by an inmate, state officials said. Correctional officer Robert Clark, 42, died at a hospital after an inmate assaulted him with a homemade weapon at Smith State Prison in rural Glennville, the Georgia Department of Corrections said in a news release. […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Video shows bloodied Black man surrounded by officers during Florida traffic stop

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A traffic stop captured on video by a bystander shows a handcuffed Black man with swollen eyes and a bloody face sitting on the ground surrounded by officers outside a vehicle in northeast Florida, and the officers’ law enforcement agency says it has launched an internal review. Force was used while […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Airbnb guest who rented a room tied up, robbed Georgia homeowner at gunpoint, police say

BUFORD, Ga. (AP) — Police say a man who used Airbnb to rent a room in Georgia ended up robbing the home’s owner at gunpoint. A homeowner in the metro Atlanta suburb of Buford called Gwinnett County police saying an armed man who had rented his basement through the room-sharing app had fled after stealing […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

More than 100 search for 9-year-old girl who was camping with family in upstate New York

MOREAU, N.Y. (AP) — Drones, bloodhounds and an airboat were used in the search for a missing 9-year-old girl who had been camping with her family in upstate New York, officials said Sunday. Charlotte Sena was last seen bicycling on Saturday evening in Moreau Lake State Park, about 35 miles (60 kilometers) north of Albany, […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

John Warren, ex-South Carolina GOP gubernatorial candidate, details leadership lessons in new book