COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – South Carolina State Rep. Nikki Haley, who has been widely viewed as both as a supporter of Gov. Mark Sanford and his likely pick as his replacement in next year's gubernatorial race, joined the chorus of Republican voices Wednesday urging the GOP governor to consider resignation.
"For the past five years I have worked with Mark Sanford trying to restructure our backward system of government and make our state more accountable and taxpayer-friendly. During that time I have also been fortunate to know Jenny, and have developed a tremendous admiration and respect for her. In the context of those two things, there are no words to describe the disappointment I feel over the revelations of the past week.
"The people of South Carolina have heard enough about the governor's personal life. We do not need to hear any more of that. What we do need to hear from the governor is an explanation as to how he can lead our state going forward. He has a responsibility to outline what he wants to accomplish over the next 18 months and how he intends to accomplish it. I remain willing to listen to that case, but if he cannot make it convincingly, then he must move on."
Because of her close ties to Sanford - both take advice from the same Washington-based political consultant, Jon Lerner - Haley has been forced to walk a fine line in responding to the Sanford scandal.
After news of Sanford's affair broke last week, Haley's campaign team was caught removing a large photo of Sanford from her Web site - a move that was quickly seized upon by her Republican rivals in the 2010 race.