Nikki Haley

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
See also: Nikki Haley possible presidential campaign, 2016
Nikki Haley
Governor of South Carolina
In office
January 12, 2011 - Present
Term ends
January 2019
Years in position 4
PredecessorMark Sanford (R)
Majority Whip, South Carolina House of Representatives
Base salary$106,078
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First electedNovember 2, 2010
Campaign $$5,902,737
Term limits2 consecutive terms
Prior offices
South Carolina House of Representatives
January 3, 2005 – November 8, 2010
Bachelor'sClemson University (1994)
Date of birthJanuary 20, 1972
Place of birthBamberg, SC
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Nimrata "Nikki" Randhawa Haley (b. January 20, 1972, in Bamberg, South Carolina) is the 116th and current Governor of South Carolina. A Republican, she was first elected on November 2, 2010, defeating Democratic nominee Vincent Sheheen. She was sworn into office on January 12, 2011.

Haley won re-election in 2014 against Sheheen, who sought a rematch of their 2010 race.[1] She began her second term in the governor's office on January 14, 2015.

Haley is considered a possible presidential candidate in 2016.

Haley's election made her the first Indian-American woman to become governor of South Carolina and the second Indian-American governor in the United States after Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.[2][3]

As governor, Haley's focus has been on creating jobs and improving the state's business climate. She has also worked towards cutting taxes for small businesses, pension reform, Medicaid reform, illegal immigration reform, Voter ID, and created the office of Inspector General.[4]

An analysis of Republican governors by Nate Silver of the New York Times in April 2013 ranked Haley as the 21st most conservative governor in the country.[5]

Haley previously served in the South Carolina House of Representatives, representing District 87, Lexington County, from 2005-2010.


Haley was born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa in Bamberg, South Carolina on January 20, 1972, to Sikh immigrants parents Dr. Ajit Singh Randhawa and Raj Kaur Randhawa, who migrated from Amritsar District, Punjab, India.[6] She has two brothers, Mitti and Charan, and one sister, Simran. She graduated from Orangeburg Preparatory School and earned her B.S. in accounting from Clemson University in 1994.[7] After finishing college, Haley was hired at FCR Corporation, a waste management and recycling company. She later became the chief financial officer for her family's clothing business, Exotica International, which her mother opened as a gift shop when Haley was a child. At 13, Haley was put in charge of the company's bookkeeping; As an adult, Haley, as CFO, helped expand Exotica International into multimillion-dollar company.[6]

In 1998 Haley was named to the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce board of directors. She was named to Lexington Chamber of Commerce in 2003 and in the same year she became the treasurer of the National Association of Women Business Owners, becoming it's president a year later in 2004.[8]
The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine was used to recall this version of the website from April 11, 2007.

Haley has occupied several membership and leadership roles within various organizations including, but not limited to:

  • Lexington Gala
  • Lexington Medical Foundation
  • Lexington County Sheriff’s Foundation
  • West Metro Republican Women
  • President of the South Carolina Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners
  • Chair of the 2006 Friends of Scouting Leadership Division campaign
  • Rotary Club in Lexington[9]


Political career

Governor of South Carolina (2011 - Present)

Haley was elected Governor of South Carolina on November 2, 2012, and was sworn in the following January.[4] She was re-elected in 2014 to a second four-year term in office.

Common Core

South Carolina had adopted the Common Core Standards but in June 2014, Governor Nikki Haley signed legislation requiring the state to replace the Common Core standards with new ones written by the state Department of Education after the 2014-2015 school year. For that year, the Common Core standards will remain in place.[10] This bill replacing Common Core with state-written standards also included a role for the South Carolina State Legislature in reviewing and approving these new standards to prevent the restoration of Common Core standards under a different name.[10] Haley had long opposed Common Core as had outgoing Superintendent Mick Zais, who specifically warned against his eventual successor putting Common Core back in place through such a method.[11]

Labor complaint

Haley was among 16 Republican governors to sign a letter to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The letter asked the board to dismiss the complaint it made in April 2011 against aircraft maker Boeing, which planned to operate a plant in South Carolina. South Carolina is a right-to-work state and the NLRB claimed Boeing established an assembly plant in North Charleston, S.C., in retaliation for past labor problems the company has experienced in the state of Washington.

Haley wrote to Lafe Solomon, acting general counsel of the NLRB, taking issue with the agency’s action. The letter was dated June 16, 2011.[12]

Job creation ranking

In a June 2013 analysis by The Business Journals, which ranked 45 of the country's 50 governors by their job creation records, Haley was ranked number 34. The five governors omitted from the analysis all assumed office in 2013. The ranking was based on a comparison of the annual private sector growth rate in all 50 states using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.[13][14]

Presidential preference


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Nikki Haley endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [15]

South Carolina General Assembly (2005-2010)

Haley was a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from 2005 - 2010.

She was first elected to the chamber in 2004 by voters of District 87. She was named Chairman of the Freshman Caucus in 2005 and Majority Whip for the House Republican Caucus in 2006.[16] She served on the Education and Public Works Committee.[4]

On The Issues Vote Match

Nikki Haley's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

'On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the analysis, Haley is a Libertarian-Leaning Conservative.[17] Note: We are working to resolve inaccuracies with this information. Thank you for your patience.

On The Issues organization logo.


2016 Presidency

See also: Presidential election, 2016

While speaking at a Republican Governor’s Association press conference in November 2013, Haley said, "I’m a huge fan of governors, you know, because it’s not about talk. It’s about what they do. And so, while I think we’re going to have a fabulous slate of candidates for [the] presidency and I think we need to look at each and every one,what I always think are important are results. And it’s really hard for someone out of DC to prove results when they can’t even stay open. I mean, governors make great CEOs. They just do. It’s easier for us to look at how they handled their state and how they would handle a country than it is one member of DC, saying, well maybe they could do it. So for me, yeah, I always prefer governors over others.”[18] There have been 17 presidents who previously served as governors.[19]

Comments on a possible run

  • On September 24, 2014, Ann Romney, wife of Mitt Romney, stated, "I wish I could see some women out there. I love Nikki Haley … I’d love to see more women participate."[20]


See also: South Carolina Gubernatorial election, 2014

Haley ran for a second term as governor in the 2014 elections.

Haley won the Republican nomination in the unopposed primary on June 10. The general election took place November 4, 2014.[21]

In February 2013, Haley's plan was to wait until the legislative session concluded on June 6 to announce her final decision about whether to enter the race.[22] By late June, Haley still had not made a decision, saying, "If we look and it’s too much on the family, I could absolutely see not running again.”[23] On August 26, 2013, she officially launched her re-election campaign.[24]


General election
Governor of South Carolina, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngNikki Haley Incumbent 55.9% 696,645
     Democratic Vincent Sheheen 41.4% 516,166
     Libertarian Steve French 1.2% 15,438
     Independent Tom Ervin 0.9% 11,496
     United Citizens Morgan Reeves 0.5% 5,622
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.1% 934
Total Votes 1,246,301
Election Results via South Carolina State Election Commission.


October 14 debate

Charleston State University hosted a debate featuring all five candidates for governor, though Nikki Haley (R) and Vincent Sheheen (D) trained their attention against each other on the issue of ethics. Sheheen struck at Haley for past accusations of illegal lobbying during her time as a state legislator, arguing that the state would never be led in the right direction with Haley in office. Haley responded that she was cleared of charges twice by the state House in 2012 and Sheheen voted against a proposed ethics reform law twice over the past two years. Sheheen claimed that the Republican-supported reform would not go far enough to deal with lobbying concerns.[25]

The three third-party candidates on stage brought unique perspectives to the debate with their stances on marijuana legalization and job creation. Independent candidate Tom Ervin argued against legalization of marijuana, suggesting that medical evidence showed lowered intelligence from habitual use. United Citizens Party candidate Morgan Reeves countered Ervin's points by stating that marijuana first existed in the "imagination of God" and could produce tax revenue for the state. Libertarian Party candidate Steve French opposed increasing the state's minimum wage and compared jobs to sex by saying, "You shouldn't brag about it if you have to pay for it." On the issue of jobs, Haley pointed to a previous announcement that 57,000 jobs would be created throughout the state and Sheheen suggested that only half of those jobs have been created in her first term.[25]


See also: South Carolina gubernatorial election, 2010

On November 2, 2010, Haley defeated Vincent Sheheen (D) by a little less than 60,000 votes out of nearly 1.3 million ballots cast for governor in the first open gubernatorial election in South Carolina since 1994. She became South Carolina's first female governor when she took office on Jan. 13, 2011.

South Carolina Governor, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngNikki Haley 51.4% 690,525
     Democratic Vincent A. Sheheen 46.9% 630,534
     Green Morgan Bruce Reeves 0.9% 12,483
     UNC Morgan Bruce Reeves 0.6% 7,631
     Write-In Various 0.2% 3,025
Total Votes 1,344,198
Election Results via South Carolina Election Commission

While Haley had finished strong in the 2010 Gubernatorial Primary, receiving 49 percent of all ballots cast among the four candidates, she didn't receive the 50 percent-plus one needed to secure the nomination outright, necessitating a runoff. Her opponent was Gresham Barrett, who had finished second in the primary with 21.8 percent of the Republican vote. The runoff was held June 22 and Haley again won convincingly.

2010 Race for Governor - Republican Runoff[26]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Nikki R. Haley (R) 65.1%
Gresham Barrett (R) 34.9%
Total votes 359,334

Haley's gubernatorial aspirations was the beneficiary of a number of serendipitous boosts. Just weeks before the primary, former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin traveled to Columbia to campaign with Haley, and her popularity in the polls shot up immediately.

On December 7, 2009, Erick Erickson of announced support for Haley in the 2010 South Carolina gubernatorial election. "Nikki Haley is one of us. Now we need to stick up for her and fund her. If you have money, give it. If you have time, give it. If you have prayers, offer them up," wrote Erickson in a blog entry.[27][28]

In November 2009 Haley's bid for the Republican nomination for Governor received a boost when South Carolina First Lady Jenny Sanford backed Haley to replace her husband in 2011. Haley's campaign had been struggling, ending the third-quarter with the least amount of cash on hand out of the five GOP contenders for the nomination.[29][30]

Haley ended up trouncing her three rivals, nearly gaining a majority of Republican votes cast.

2010 Race for Governor - Republican Primary[31]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Nikki R. Haley (R) 48.9%[32]
Gresham Barrett (R) 21.8%
Henry McMaster (R) 16.9%
Andre Bauer (R) 12.5%
Total votes 422,251


In 2008, Haley was re-elected for a third term to the South Carolina House of Representatives with 83 percent of the votes; reported as the largest margin of any state representative with a contested general election in South Carolina. According to Lexington County election results, Haley received 17,043 of the total votes, Edgar Gomez, the Democratic candidate, received 3,446 (16.8 percent) of the votes.[33]

Haley raised $170,815 for her campaign, while Gomez raised $2,600.[34]

South Carolina House of Representatives, District 87 (2008)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Nikki Haley (R) 17,043
Edgar Gomez (D) 3,446


Haley ran unopposed and was automatically elected for a second term.[35] In 2006, Speaker Bobby Harrell appointed Rep. Haley as House Republican Whip. In 2006 she served on the House Labor, Commerce & Industry Committee.[36]


In the 2004 election Haley defeated then-longest-serving member of the House of Representatives Larry Koon, who served since 1975. In the primary election, Haley won 40 percent, 2,247, of the vote and Koons won 42 percent, 2,354, of the vote.[37] In light of the close election, both candidates squared off in a runoff. Haley won 54.7 percent, 2,928 votes, of the total; defeating Koon. There wasn't a Democratic candidate so Haley ran unopposed and won the seat.[38]

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Haley is available dating back to 2004. Based on available campaign finance records, Haley raised a total of $5,902,737 during that time period. This information was last updated on March 17, 2013.[39]

Nikki Haley's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 SC Governor Not up for election $1,592,103
2010 SC Governor Won $3,969,865
2008 SC State House Won $170,815
2006 SC State House Won $90,653
2004 SC State House Won $79,301
Grand Total Raised $5,902,737

Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Nikki Haley's donors each year.[40] Click [show] for more information.


Haley and her husband, Michael, currently reside in Lexington County, South Carolina. They have two children.[41] Michael Haley, a member of the U.S. National Guard, spent 11 months in Afghanistan training local farmers to grow crops other than the commonly grown poppies, which are used to make heroin. The deployment came during the second year of Haley's first term as governor.[42]

Haley published an autobiography, Can't is Not an Option, in 2012. In the book, Haley writes about her personal experiences growing up, including her experiences with child abuse.[43]


Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Nikki + Haley + South + Carolina + Governor"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Nikki Haley News Feed

  • Loading...

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. Huffington Post, "Nikki Haley, Vincent Sheheen Attack Ads Released For 2014 Campaign (VIDEO) ," May 1, 2013
  2. Live Punjab, "Indian Sikh woman in race for South Carolina governorship," June 24, 2009
  3. Herald Online, "Rep. Haley announces bid to become state's first female governor," May 14, 2009
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 South Carolina Governor, "About: Nikki Haley," accessed May 25, 2012
  5. New York Times, "In State Governments, Signs of a Healthier G.O.P.," April 16, 2013
  6. 6.0 6.1 The New York Times, "All Her Life, Nikki Haley Was the Different One," June 13, 2010
  7. Asian Tribune, "Nikki Haley: Daughter of Indian Sikh immigrants destined to be South Carolina Governor," June 12, 2010
  8. Welcome to the South Carolina State Legislature, "Representative Nikki Randhawa Haley," accessed May 2, 2014
  9. Nikki Haley for Governor Official campaign website, "Bio," accessed May 2, 2014 (dead link)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Education Week State EdWatch, "S.C. Governor Signs Bill Requiring State to Replace Common Core," June 4, 2014
  11. The Post and Courier, "Zais: Those who say SC will keep Common Core 'have never read the standards'" June 10, 2014
  12. "Labor Complaint Against Boeing Opposed by Haslam," by Mike Morrow, Tennessee Report, June 19, 2011
  13. The Business Journals, "Governors and jobs: How governors rank for job creation in their states," June 27, 2013
  14. The Business Journals, "How state governors rank on their job-growth record," June 27, 2013
  15. Associated Press, "Romney picks up SC gov's endorsement in GOP race," December 16, 2011
  16. Nikki Haley official site, "About," accessed July 6, 2009 (dead link)
  17. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ontheissues
  18. Daily Caller, "Nikki Haley: I'd prefer a governor for next president," November 21, 2013
  19. Center on the American Governor, "The Governors Who Became President: Brief Biographies," accessed October 30, 2013
  20. FitsNews, "Ann Romney Wants Nikki Haley To Run For President," September 24, 2014
  21. South Carolina Election Commission, "Candidate Tracking," March 27, 2014
  22. The Associated Press via MyrtleBeachOnline, "Gov Haley names co-chairs for possible run in 2014," February 19, 2013
  23. Huffington Post, "Nikki Haley Still Undecided On Re-election Bid In 2014," June 24, 2013
  24. Washington Post, "South Carolina Gov. Haley launches re-election campaign (Video)," August 26, 2013
  25. 25.0 25.1 The State, "2014 ELECTIONS: Gloves off for Haley, Sheheen in SC governor’s debate," October 14, 2014
  26. South Carolina State Election Commission - 2010 Republican Runoff
  27. RedState, "Nice Guys Only Finish Last If We Let Them," December 7, 2009
  28. The State, "Haley gets endorsement," December 7, 2009
  29. The Sun News Jenny Sanford backs Haley to succeed her husband, November 12, 2009
  30. Nikki Haley official website, "First Lady Jenny Sanford Endorses Our Campaign," November 12, 2009
  31. South Carolina State Election Commission - 2010 Republican and Democratic Primary
  32. Even though Nikki Haley received the most votes, she failed to receive over fifty percent of those votes required by South Carolina state law. A runoff election between the top two vote recipients, therefore, was required to decide who went on to the general election.
  33. Lexington County, "2008 Election Results," accessed July 12, 2009 (dead link)
  34. Follow the Money's report 2008 Campaign donations in South Carolina
  35. Asian-American Politics," accessed July 12, 2009
  36. Home Builders Association of South Carolina, "Columbia HBA Recognizes Representative Nikki Haley with Champion of Housing Award," accessed July 12, 2009
  37. Free Times, "Haley’s Star Rising," October 22, 2008
  38. NRI, "Nikki Randhawa, NRI, Sikh Busimess woman won the runoff election to the South Carolina State Assembly," June 10, 2004
  39. Follow the Money, "Career Fundraising for Nikki Haley," accessed March 10, 2013
  40. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
  41. The State, "Haley announces run for governor," May 15, 2009
  42. Reuters, Husband of South Carolina governor returns from Afghanistan, December 12, 2013
  43. The Washington Post, Nikki Haley opens up on childhood abuse, July 9, 2013
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 44.3 44.4 44.5 44.6 44.7 South Carolina Legislature, "Nikki Haley," June 19, 2009 (dead link) (dead link)
Political offices
Preceded by
Mark Sanford (R)
Governor of South Carolina
Succeeded by
Preceded by
South Carolina House of Representatives District 87
Succeeded by
Todd Atwater (R)