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Tags: Andre Bauer

Forget the Gubernatorial Primary! Somebody Stole From Paula Deen!



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Tonight is my last night in Hilton Head, South Carolina, where I’ve been able to get a sense of how the Palmetto State governor’s race is being covered locally. While we political junkies wonder if Nikki Haley will emerge victorious, whether Gresham Barrett or Henry McMaster will catch up, or whether Andre Bauer will invent some new innovative technique in mudslinging, the race isn’t always the biggest issue on the minds of the locals.

Tonight, the top story on the 11 p.m. news broadcast on the Savannah, Georgia, ABC affiliate, which broadcasts into this part of South Carolina, was . . .  the arrest of a housekeeper for stealing from celebrity chef and Savannah resident Paula Deen. The same story was the top item on the CBS affiliate. On the NBC affiliate, they were touting Matt Lauer’s interview with President Obama, where he talked about how he wants to know whose ass to kick.

A billboard depicting an unhappy face made out of oil-slicked shrimp in Okatie, South Carolina, is the next big story.

Eight minutes in, NBC affiliate WSAV did their wrap-up story. Todd Shaw, a University of South Carolina political-science professor, noted that the backlash against the affair allegations may have helped Nikki Haley slightly. They also noted that, surprisingly, voter turnout is expected to be low, based on the number of absentee ballots returned so far.

There’s a whole world outside of politics, even the night before a big, dramatic primary.

Tags: Andre Bauer , Gresham Barrett , Henry McMaster , Nikki Haley

So Far, Voters Still Hail Haley



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I told you there wasn’t any affair-claim fallout down here in South Carolina:

Nikki Haley hasn’t suffered any damage whatsoever after accusations of multiple extramarital affairs and is headed for an easy first place finish in Tuesday’s Republican primary for Governor of South Carolina.Haley has a 20 point lead, getting 43 percent of the vote. Gresham Barrett looks like the favorite for the second runoff spot. He’s at 23 percent, followed by Henry McMaster at 16 percent, and Andre Bauer at 12 percent.

I think 12 percent of South Carolinians have yearned for a governor who, during debates, avoids eye contact with the moderator, other candidates, camera, or any other direction.

By the way, for those in the lower South Carolina/northeastern* Georgia neck of the woods today:

Jim Geraghty, who writes for the conservative magazine National Review and serves as a commentator on CNN and Fox News, will speak Monday to the First Monday Republican Lunch Group at Aunt Chilada’s on Hilton Head Island.

Candidates in the upcoming S.C. House District 123 primary race also will be on hand, as will Doug Henderson, who is collecting signatures to get on the ballot as a petition candidate for Beaufort County treasurer in the fall general election.

Reservations are not required for the lunch, which starts at noon. The lunch, which includes beverage, tax and tip, costs $10.

* A reader argues that Savannah isn’t really “northeastern” Georgia. Well, it’s northeast of some part of Georgia…

Tags: Andre Bauer , Gresham Barrett , Henry McMaster , Nikki Haley

The Palmetto State Circus, a.k.a. the GOP Gubernatorial Primary, Enters Its Final Weekend



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Here in Hilton Head, South Carolina, the print edition of today’s Island Packet has nothing on the state senator’s “raghead” comment about gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley (probably too late for their deadlines), and one sentence referring to the affair allegations. I’ve seen letters to the editor complaining about giving the claims any attention beyond the initial story, and the editors seem to be handling the charge with increasing skepticism.

While I’d feel more confident about Haley’s chances if there were more recent polling, I think this probably helps front-running Haley. The next 48 hours or so are almost guaranteed to be dominated by discussion of the “raghead” comment, and/or candidate and current state attorney general Henry McMaster’s contention that the campaign has hurt the state’s image:

“The behavior of my opponents, their campaigns and their supporters over the last few weeks has not served our state well,” McMaster said in a statement issued by his campaign. “In fact, it’s been embarrassing. . . . They should rein in their attention-starved surrogates, re-focus on the important issues at hand, and renew their commitment to putting South Carolina’s interest above their own self-interest.”

It’s been a long and hard-fought campaign, with plenty of mailers, ads, and debates, so I suspect there aren’t that many undecided voters left. I suspect this spurs what remaining undecided who are certain to vote to go with Haley, as a sort of rebuke to the dubious accusers. Alternatively, we could see a late surge for McMaster as he’s trying to position himself above the fray. Right now, I suspect the two go to a runoff.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer has decided he wants to close out his campaign by challenging Haley to take a polygraph test.

Tags: Andre Bauer , Henry McMaster , Nikki Haley

Knott Many People Like What He Said



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South Carolina politics makes the rest of the country look boring. From this Morning’s Jolt:

He Said What? What?!?

CNN: “ A longtime South Carolina state Senator with a reputation for blunt language used the term ‘raghead’ to describe Republican gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley and President Obama during an appearance on a political talk show Thursday. Haley is of Indian-American descent. State Sen. Jake Knotts, who backs Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer in the four-way Republican primary battle, made the remark during an interview on ‘Pub Politics,’ a popular online political talk show in Columbia . . . ’We already got one raghead in the White House, we don’t need a raghead in the governor’s mansion,’ Knotts said, according to multiple people present for the broadcast.”

“Pub politics,” huh? I take it Knotts went straight to the hard stuff?

Robert Stacy McCain: “Well, it’s come to this, has it? Certainly, I’m the last person on the planet to be screaming ’raaaaacist’ at other people, but it’s shocking enough that a Republican would use such language to describe President Obama. For a Republican to use it against a fellow Republican — Nikki Haley is a Christian of Sikh ancestry — is so wrong as to defy comprehension.”

Hey, you know what? When you call two Christians from completely different backgrounds a racial slur – buddy, look at Nikki Haley, she’s not even that tan – I think it’s actually okay to screaming “raaaaacist” because it’s racist. Bring in Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and busloads of protesters. We’ve found actual racism. Kanye West, blurt out anything you want about Jake Knotts.

So how the heck did this topic even come up, anyway? Ben Smith: “The Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody posted a story today noting, accurately, that her public persona and campaign website had taken a progressively ‘more Christian’ tone, and raising some of those questions. But in the nasty game of South Carolina politics, in which Haley has already been accused twice publicly  of infidelity, the religion story has a clear political charge. Brody told me in an email that his story was prompted by ‘a tip from an anonymous source,’ and Tim Pearson, Haley’s spokesman, said the story was ‘being shopped’ and that Brody wasn’t the only reporter to call him about it. A source close to the campaign of one rival — Rep. Gresham Barrett, who touts his Christian faith in his ads — said the Barrett campaign has at least discussed playing the religion card. The source said his aides sometimes refer to her by the Indian name with which she was born, ‘Nimrata,’ in the campaign office. ‘They always thought that the relgion thing would be what would save Gresham in the end against Nikki,’ said the source, an outside adviser to Barrett who said he was speaking to a reporter because he disliked the notion of attacking Haley on her faith.”

You know, I don’t care if Brody’s got friends in every town and village from here to the Sudan, I think if you’re a reporter, and a campaign says, “hey, doesn’t our opponent’s religious faith seem a little sketchy?” you think long and hard before you partake in investigative journalism delving into deeply personal matters like that. If even Mother Teresa had long stretches of doubt, it suggests we can never really know what’s going on in a person’s head when they’re talking to God. So if that’s the case, who’s willing to declare someone to be insufficiently pious to serve as governor of South Carolina?  Who’s certain that candidate X’s expressions of religious faith are genuine and candidate Y’s are just designed to win votes among religious voters? (I seem to remember some good book saying something about the correct order for a stone-throwing contest.)

Brody’s report begins, “The Brody File is NOT questioning her Christian beliefs at all but rather how the emphasis of her religious language seems to have evolved throughout her political career.” Sure, pal. And you really have absolutely no idea how her opponents would use this report in the final weekend before the primary.

Tags: Andre Bauer , Gresham Barrett , Nikki Haley

Talking South Carolina Politics, From the Palmetto State Itself



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Earlier today, I had a chance to talk about Nikki Haley and South Carolina’s Republican gubernatorial primary with Will Cain . . .

Tags: Andre Bauer , Nikki Haley

Oh Nikki, Polls So Fine, Polls So Fine She Blows Our Minds



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One race that’s been on my to-do list for a while is the South Carolina governor’s race; their primary is June 8. (If no candidate receives at least 50 percent of the vote in the primary, a runoff will be held between the top two vote-getters.)

Rasmussen has some new numbers that are surprising:

With South Carolina’s Republican Primary for Governor less than three weeks away, State Representative Nikki Haley, coming off a fresh endorsement by Sarah Palin, now leads the GOP pack.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Republican Primary voters shows Haley earning 30% support. She’s followed by State Attorney General Henry McMaster who picks up 19% and Congressman Gresham Barrett with 17%. Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer captures 12% of the vote.

Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate in the race, but nearly one-in-five potential primary voters (18%) remain undecided.

To conservatives, the choices range from pretty good to good to really good. Nikki Haley is one of those great rising stars in the GOP; she took on her own party over the importance of having recorded votes (instead of voice votes, where it’s simply done by saying “aye” or “nay,” leaving no record of which lawmakers approved and which opposed a particular bill or amendment). Henry McMaster was one of the first state attorney generals to challenge the constitutionality of Obamacare. Gresham Barrett has a lifetime ACU rating of 98.

And Andre Bauer? I know some Republicans in the state aren’t thrilled with him — comparing the needy to stray animals generally strikes most folks as harsh — but during the Sanford mess, he took the high road and said that if Sanford was removed from office, he would not seek a full term. (Some Republicans’ reluctance to see Bauer become governor was a contributing factor to the decision not to impeach Sanford.)

Three Democrats are running for governor in South Carolina: state senator Robert Ford, education superintendent Jim Rex, and state senator Vincent A. Sheheen.

Tags: Andre Bauer , Gresham Barrett , Henry McMaster , Nikki Haley

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