Nikki Haley hasn't won over some S.C. GOP voters

The State (Columbia, S.C.)October 19, 2010 

Nikki Haley was the overwhelming choice of Republicans in June’s primary runoff, but questions — many raised by GOP members — about her qualifications since have caused some Republican voters to reconsider.

And that could open a window for Democrat Vincent Sheheen.

Sheheen’s only chance at winning GOP-dominated South Carolina is to chisel away at Haley’s support among Republicans, while winning nearly all Democrats.

Haley, outgoing Gov. Mark Sanford’s favored successor, ran as the outsider during the primary. But the Lexington state representative now is bringing the full resources of the Republican Party to bear on Sheheen with the election just two weeks away.

Longtime Republicans, such as Attorney General Henry McMaster and House Speaker Bobby Harrell, insist the GOP is united behind Haley. Haley still holds a large lead in the most recent polls, including the support of four-fifths of GOP voters surveyed.

However, a handful of Republicans have led a charge against Haley. They argue her repeated late tax payments, her consulting work while a legislator for an engineering firm with state contracts and her $110,000-a-year, 10-hour-a-week fundraising job at Lexington Medical Center, a position created for her, and her lack of legislative accomplishments mean she is not fit for office.

They have formed a group questioning Haley, called Conservatives for Truth in Politics, and a website culling news stories about her.

“The Republican nominee for governor is corrupt,” said John Rainey, a prominent Republican fundraiser for former Republican presidential candidate John McCain and for Sanford.

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