Thursday, June 3, 2010

Second Affair Accusation Hits Haley Campaign

Jim Davenport for The Huffington Post wrote yesterday that a second person has come out claiming to have had an affair with Nikki Haley, the South Carolina gubernatorial candidate.
A South Carolina lobbyist resigned from a rival political campaign on Wednesday and then became the second man to claim he had a tryst with a Republican lawmaker trying to become the state's first female governor.

Lobbyist Larry Marchant admitted he had no proof to back up his allegation of a one-night stand with state Rep. Nikki Haley in 2008 and her campaign vehemently denied the allegation. The claim became the latest political drama for a state that was roiled when Gov. Mark Sanford made a tearful confession last summer to sneaking out of the country to rendezvous with an Argentine woman.

Earlier in the day, Marchant resigned from the campaign of Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who is competing with Haley for the GOP nomination in the June 8 primary.

"It never happened. Absolutely not," Haley said emphatically about Marchant's claim during a debate with Bauer and the two other Republican candidates in Charleston. "This is just disgusting politics. Two or three months ago I was Nikki who? and nobody was saying anything and a couple weeks ago we started going double digits up in the polls and now we have had everything thrown at us."

Haley's campaign manager had the same message.

"As Nikki Haley rises in the polls, the good old boys in Columbia see their taxpayer-funded fraternity party coming crumbling down, and they will say or do anything to hold onto their power," Tim Pearson said earlier. "This is South Carolina politics at its worst."

Marchant concedes he can't prove his allegation. "We knew up front that I didn't have any evidence because you can't have any evidence on a one night affair – you don't have that."

Marchant's claim is the second leveled at Haley in as many weeks. Political blogger Will Folks said he and Haley had an "inappropriate physical relationship" in 2007. Despite dribbling out days of innuendo on his website, Folks has yet to prove his claims. He was not married at the time of the alleged relationship.

Haley, a 38-year-old married mother of two who vows she has been faithful over 13 years of marriage, is a tea party favorite in the four-way race for the GOP nomination to succeed the term-limited Sanford. She has been endorsed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her rivals privately say their internal polls show her with a lead.
I keep hearing about South Carolina having some notoriously dirty politics, but I have dooubts about Haley's denial.  Conservatives post countless stories claiming the president is having some sort of secret affair with some secret ladies, but a couple political insiders come out claiming to have had relations with the candidate and the right-wing media gets upset?  For Folk's claim I am willing to believe, especially seeing the countless messages he had posted regarding the affair, but this newest claim requires some real convincing...

Regardless of whether or not the claims are true, Haley's campaign has now been marred, especially because of her poor handling of the situation - she simply denied the claim and moved on.  Her failure to nip this thing in the bud has resulted in the story to spin out of control, and in politics, that is one thing you can't afford, especially during an election year.

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