(CNN) – South Carolina blogger Will Folks defended himself Wednesday after Erick Erickson, the editor of the influential conservative website RedState.com, accused Folks of lying about having an affair with gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley.
Erickson, a CNN contributor, accused Folks of "pulling the noose" on a "high-tech lynching" of Haley to gin up traffic for his website and torpedo her campaign. Haley is Erickson's preferred candidate in the four-way South Carolina Republican primary race.
Unless he produces definitive evidence of an affair, Erickson wrote, Folks should "shut the hell up."
Folks produced text messages between himself and the Haley campaign Tuesday that he said backed up his assertion that he supported Haley's bid and was working with her to keep reporters and political rivals away from the rumor.
On Wednesday his website, FITSNews.com, hinted that several people had witnessed Haley visit Folks' Columbia-area home in 2007. Folks also claims to have e-mails and text messages from Haley.
Folks shot back at Erickson's criticism Wednesday, telling CNN in an e-mail that he has been "smeared viciously" by the Haley campaign in the wake of accusation, even though he previously worked with the Haley campaign to prevent the information from coming out.
He said he is "going to do everything I have to do to protect my family, my reputation and my website."
As he wrote in his initial post about the alleged affair, Folks said he was compelled to make the admission after political opponents threatened to release details about the relationship.
"As I said from the beginning, this fight was forced upon me," he told CNN. "I did not want it, do not want it and do not enjoy having to keep fighting it."
Erickson has launched an online "moneybomb" to raise money for Haley, who lags behind her three GOP rivals in campaign funds.