James B. Edwards, credited with helping build the modern Republican Party in South Carolina, passed away on Friday at age 87. Edwards was elected as South Carolina’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction in 1974 and later served as energy secretary in the Reagan administration. He then served as president of the Medical University of South Carolina for 17 years until he retired. “South Carolina has lost a statesman and the Republican Party has lost a true pioneer,” said Iris Campbell, widow of the late GOP Gov. Carroll Campbell, who worked in Edwards' administration.