Magazine January 23, 2012, Issue

Nikki Haley’s Rough Start

Nikki Haley and Mitt Romney in December 2011 (Rainier Ehrhardt/AP)
South Carolina’s rock-star governor collides with reality

Columbia, S.C.

The race for the Republican presidential nomination has pivoted towards South Carolina’s January 21 primary. Because the state’s primary voters have selected the eventual GOP nominee in every contested White House race since 1980, every campaign is putting out a maximum effort.

One of the aces that Mitt Romney believes he holds in the Palmetto State is the endorsement of Nikki Haley, the new 39-year-old governor who rocketed to political stardom last year by challenging the good-ol’-boy political network in the state. Fueled by endorsements from both Sarah Palin and Romney, Haley was able to marshal tea-party support to crush

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