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South Carolina AG endorses State Rep. Nikki Haley for Governor

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June 17, 2010

Nikki Haley

COLUMBIA, South Carolina: After placing third in the Republican primary a week ago with nearly seventeen percent of the vote and failing to qualify for the runoff election set to take place on Tuesday, June 22, 2010, South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster has come out in support of State Representative Nikki Haley in the state's gubernatorial race.[1] Not only has the former gubernatorial candidate endorsed Haley's candidacy, he has pledged to do everything in his power, including helping to raise campaign funds, in order to assist her campaign.[2]

Polling data accumulated by Rasmussen and published in December 2009 suggested at the time that of the batch of Republican candidates who had entered the gubernatorial contest, including Haley, McMaster had the best chance of defeating any Democratic opponent.[3] Five months later, however, State Representative Nikki Haley had firmly taken the lead in the campaign. Her candidacy gained considerable ground after receiving the endorsement of both former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney and former Governor of Alaska/Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. A late-May 2010 survey conducted by Public Policy Polling showed Haley with thirty-nine percent while McMaster had slipped into second place with eighteen percent, with fourteen percent still undecided.[4] It was unclear at that point in time how the rumors of Haley's supposed extramarital affair with Will Folks, South Carolina blogger and former aide to Governor Mark Sanford, would affect her campaign. On primary election night, Haley fell just 1.1 percent short of avoiding a runoff contest with runner-up Gresham Barrett, who had received just under twenty-two percent of the vote.[5]

State political scientists suggest that the endorsement from her former challenger "can’t do anything but put greater distance between her and Gresham Barrett, another establishment figure as a sitting congressman who was endorsed early on by the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce."[2] Haley has based her campaign on the promise of turning government over the people.

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