As a South Carolina resident, I’ve watched the candidacy of Nikki Haley for governor with interest this spring.
From her early commercials emphasizing accountability in government, to famous endorsements, and her win tonight it’s been an interesting race.
Nikki Haley makes history
According to the Associated Press, tonight Nikki Haley has won the GOP primary for South Carolina governor.
She becomes the first woman gubernatorial candidate of a major political party in South Carolina.
In the November 2010 election she’ll face Democrat Vincent Sheheen.
In a Republican-leaning state, Nikki Haley may well become South Carolina’s first woman governor.
Who is Nikki Haley?
Nikki Haley is a South Carolina legislator, representing the 87th district in Lexington County since 2004.
Her website describes her as a conservative leader of the push for smaller government that’s also more efficient, more transparent, and more accountable.
Nikki Haley surged after endorsements from Sarah Palin, Jenny Sanford, and the Tea Party movement
Nikki Haley’s support among likely GOP voters surged from 12% in March to 30% in May. The surge occurred after former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the GOP vice-presidential candidate in 2008, endorsed Nikki Haley in May 2010.
She also received support from the Tea Party movement.
The former First Lady of South Carolina, Jenny Sanford, also endorsed Nikki Haley. Both Gov. Palin and Jenny Sanford campaigned for Nikki Haley.
Her surge continued in the runoff. As of 9 pm June 22, she was ahead with over 60% of the votes.
Nikki Haley overcame obstacles to her campaign
A couple of weeks before the June 8 primary, allegations of infidelity-which she denied-were made against Nikki Haley.
After surviving those allegations, only days before the primary a state legislator made headlines by describing her with an ethnic slur.
Despite these potential complications to her campaign, she was the front runner on June 8 with 49% of the vote. She needed over 50% of the vote to avoid today’s runoff.
She also found herself facing ads from her runoff opponent emphasizing his faith. Characterized in the national media as a not-so-subtle attempt at emphasizing her Sikh upbringing and conversion to Christianity as a young adult.
Is Nikki Haley the new face of the GOP?
Nikki Haley is already being considered in the media-at least the local media in South Carolina-as a possible vice-presidential candidate in 2012.
Should she become the next governor of South Carolina, it will be interesting to see how far she goes-and how fast.
Liz Sidoti and Jim Davenport. Haley wins SC runoff for governor. The Associated Press. June 22, 2010.
Tony Santaella. Poll: Nikki Haley Takes Lead in GOP Governor’s Race. WLTX.com. May 20, 2010.
Alex Pappas. Nikki Haley’s opponent gets religion in final days of South Carolina gubernatorial run-off. The Daily Caller. June 18, 2010.
Jim Davenport. Woman, black pursue GOP nods and possibly history. The Daily Caller. June 22, 2010.
Meet Nikki Haley. Nikki Haley for South Carolina Governor. January 1, 2010.