Being from the Carolinas I naturally have a keen interest in Carolina politics.
In South Carolina in particular, this year's primary races have been riveting, to say the least.
A little-known state legislator who was coming in dead-last in the polls in the GOP gubernatorial race was propelled to the top of the pack when Sarah Palin came to the state and gave her a ringing endorsement.
That legislator's name is Nikki Haley.
Immediately Haley began to beat some top names in the GOP in the state, including popular Congressman Gresham Barrett, the state's Attorney-General Henry McMaster, and S.C. Lt. Governor Andre Bauer.
To be frank, there wasn't a bad choice in the litter. Each would have made excellent conservative candidates for the November gubernatorial race.
But part of Haley's appeal has been voter mood this year. They want fresh faces, reformers, Constitutionalists, and those who can shake-up the entrenched power-brokers of career politicians. Haley fit the bill.
Unfortunately, the good ole boys decided that rather than go quietly into the night, they would float out wild charges of marital infidelity against Haley just weeks before the primary. One guy in particular assured the media he had 'proof and documentation.' That claim turned out to be FALSE.
And then yet another political operative claimed he had 'an inappropriate physical relationship' with Haley at some point in the past--with no proof to back up his claims.
It did not go unnoticed that both of these individuals had close ties to the Bauer campaign. This is not to say that Bauer had anything to do with the unfounded allegations. He fired the latter accuser.
However, the allegations had the smell of political dirty tricks, and the voters could sense it.
Thus, Haley's popularity in the state only grew AFTER the allegations were made against her. And by the time the primary was held yesterday she came to within 1 percentage point of having the 50% needed to avoid a runoff. She got 49% of the vote. The man who came in 2nd place--Gresham Barrett--only managed to garner 21% of the vote.
In 2 weeks Haley and Barrett will meet in a runoff election. At this point it would appear that Nikki Haley is poised to take that runoff by storm.