March 16th, 2010
02:45 PM ET
5 years ago

Romney wades into contested GOP primary in South Carolina

Mitt Romney on Tuesday endorsed Nikki Haley’s bid for governor of South Carolina.
Mitt Romney on Tuesday endorsed Nikki Haley’s bid for governor of South Carolina.

(CNN) – Mitt Romney has stayed out of several hot Republican primaries this year, but he's wading into a high profile one in South Carolina.

Romney endorsed state Rep. Nikki Haley's bid for governor on Tuesday, calling her "a person of character and as the spokesperson for a new generation of leadership for South Carolina."

Haley, a protege and ideological ally of the fiscally conservative Gov. Mark Sanford, is cashing in a chip from the last presidential race: she supported the former Massachusetts governor when he ran for the White House in 2008.

Romney will campaign for Haley in the Palmetto State on April 1 - a visit that will give him a chance to greet supporters in a key primary state as he plots a second presidential bid.

By backing Haley, Romney is also breaking with the consulting firm that managed his unsuccessful South Carolina campaign in 2008. That team is now running Barrett's race.

Haley, an Indian-American state legislator from conservative Lexington County, trails her GOP opponents in the polls and has struggled to boost her profile statewide. But she has attracted the support of national small government activists hungry for fresh faces in the Republican party.

Haley is fighting for the GOP nomination against Attorney General Henry McMaster, Lieutenant Gov. Andre Bauer and Rep. Gresham Barrett - all of whom can also boast support from national Republican figures. Sen. John McCain has raised money for McMaster, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has endorsed Bauer and former Sen. Rick Santorum has campaigned for Barrett.

The leading candidates for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination are state Superintendent of Education Jim Rex and state Sen. Vincent Sheheen.


Filed under: 2010 • 2012 • Mitt Romney • Nikki Haley • South Carolina
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. kim

    wanna bet hes having an affair with her?

    March 16, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  2. Eric

    "...protege and ideological ally of fiscally conservative Governor Mark Sanford."

    Guess that means she's got a soul-mate in South America and will disappear for a few weeks, lie to her aides, racking up those airline upgrades at taxpayer expense, pilfering campaign funds for private use, and doing her best to prevent SC companies from creating jobs.

    March 16, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  3. Get Left or Get Left Behind

    I wonder if she has a fling in some foreign nation as well.

    March 16, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. GI Joe

    Wonder how many nights she's spent in the Gov's mansion since Sanford's wife left. What goes on here?

    March 16, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. Laverne

    An ally of Mark Sanford, umm that's enough reason to not endorse her! He is doing this because she is a woman and he feel this will give him more political capital. Mitt Romney is an opportunist, always have been and always will be!

    March 16, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  6. The Other Michael in Houston

    Well I hope she is not an exact protege, Somebody needs to check and see if she has any boyfriends in Brazil before she goes any further.

    March 16, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  7. Seth

    I am really confused by the varying endorsements from so many fine Republican men. I suppose all things being equal, I would vote for
    Nikki Haley, women are great administrators (even Nancy Pelosi) uuuuuuuugh is really great at her job, no doubt about it. She is well
    admired in the position she holds for pushing legislation. She just
    shouldn't try to push and manipulate the American people.

    We won't be prodded, cajoled, bought, bribed, rewarded and don't
    like sticks and carrots. We like freedom and more freedom.
    We like to work and share and build up this great country... not tear down Capitalism. Vote CONSERVATIVE whatever you do!!!

    March 16, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  8. Palin, Bachmann, Haley?

    Is she objectively qualified for this position. We all know that the GOP cares not about qualifications when they select someone to run for office.

    Has this woman been selected because she is a sympathetic candidate in the wake of the philandering Governor Sanford?

    March 16, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    It's still all about the political machine. Doesn't matter whether it's GOP or Dems, it's always about the political machine, not what is right for America.

    March 16, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Bye, Bye, Haley. Mr. Mittens is a republican big spender who will cost you the election.

    March 16, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |