(CNN) - Henry McMaster, the South Carolina Attorney General now running for governor, has largely stayed above the fray as the Republican primary race has descended into a circus-like den of sex allegations, blog innuendo and racial slurs.
McMaster sought to capture the moral high ground Friday with a message to his GOP rivals: Knock it off.
"The behavior of my opponents, their campaigns and their supporters over the last few weeks has not served our state well. In fact, it's been embarrassing," McMaster said in a statement. "South Carolina is a wonderful state, blessed with talented people, abundant resources and unlimited potential. Success is ours for the taking. And it's time we start acting like it."
His rivals for the gubernatorial nomination are Rep. Gresham Barrett, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer and state Rep. Nikki Haley, who has denied two separate claims of an extramarital affair.
Both the campaigns of Barrett and Bauer have been accused of shopping rumors about the alleged affairs, and on Thursday night, a top ally of Bauer called Haley a "raghead," a racial slur. Haley is an Indian-American who was raised Sikh but is now a practicing Methodist.
"For the sake of our state and our people, I'm calling on them to cut this nonsense out right now," McMaster said. "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."
UPDATE: Haley campaign manager Tim Pearson said McMaster's observation is too little, too late.
"Nikki has said from the very first day these ridiculous allegations and sideshows started that she would not be distracted from the issues and people that matter to South Carolina," Pearson said in a statement. "She has stayed very true to that, in spite of the opponent-fueled chaos now surrounding this race. We appreciate the Attorney General speaking out - nearly two weeks into this nonsense - but, frankly, he should direct his ire elsewhere."
LOL. That's the GOP!
South Carolina politics needs to come to Jesus.
I live in Florida and I'M embarrassed for them. I wish they'd stop looking under rocks for their politicians, and this goes way beyond the current contests.
Anyone who thinks that racial problems are behind us, especially in the South, needs to stop drinking the Kool-Aid. Hear that Rand Paul?
Someone please tell South Carolina that it is the year of our lord 2010, not 1810.
what do you expect? It is South Carolina. I've been there...my parents live there. This is normal behavior for them.
Huckabee is behind all the smears.
McMaster: South Carolina GOP race 'embarrassing'
That's because the GOP 'leadership' NATIONWIDE is embarrassing. I mean, seriously, look at you. You've got Dingbat Palin and Limpbag and Beck at the HELM!! What do you expect?
Your Party is not only corrupt and lacking in any semblance of morals and family values but your following actually REWARDS you guys for being this way (see Palin's speaking fees, and then go and see Sanford in Argentina).
What is wrong with this country, and in particular YOUR state?
South Kakalakee is unfortunately very representative of the moral decay, and corruption that was engendered by years and years of administrations that set the example on how to lead by corruption, lack of intelligence, and no maral compass.
Follow the leader. You've got a chance at redeeming yourself with our new President. Pay attention and you and your state might get out of the gutter.
I gotta agree with him. South Carolina politicians almost make our Georgia Republicans look acceptable. (If you don't count our scourge on the planet, Newt)
When the swamp is drained what is at the bottom is revealed. South Carolina have some in political office holders that are pure racist.
Why is it that the racial slurs always seem to come froom Tea Partiers? Coul dit be that they're afraid now that white anglo-saxons are close to being outnumbered by blacks and hispanics?
Are they worried about losing power and having some of their discriminatory behaviors used on them for a change?
All of this hate I see coming from members of the Tea Party is really fear in disguise. Whites are no longer considered superior just based on the color of their skin. get over yourselves.
It's not just in South Carolina Mr. McMaster. The GOP is becoming an embarrassment everywhere from Florida (State GOP chairman arrested for stealing donor money) to Alaska (anything involving Carabou Barbie). I'd bet Ronald Reagan is rolling over in his grave as he watches his party destroy itself and become irrelevent.
I feel sorry for the people of SC.they deserve better than this.hope the people speak with their votes and eliminate the mud slingers!
This just supports my viewpoint that the GOP's attack on President Obama has always been about race. In my opinion, the GOP has always catered to the bigots to drum up support. I just hope that all fairminded people in our country can see through that smoke screen.
Look! Someone is committing adult behavior in American politics. Someone take a picture and write the date in the memory book.
Our leaders and wannabes continue to embarrass the people of SC at every turn. For the Love Of God Fellow South Carolineans...PLEASE don't allow these hypocritical, holier than thou Sanford clones to continue to humiliate our state and its people!
I have lived in SC for 35 years. Nothing has changed. Our angry white males are just being more vocal now because they feel threatened to lose their grasp on their inalienable rights to rule the world, or at least to rule South Carolina. OMG, a woman running for governor!? Blaspheme!! And now a woman of "non-blue blood" blood. Not South Carolina! Well guys. Just like the Citadel "went down" with women being admitted to the corps, so goes the governor's mansion. We spent, as taxpayers, millions to keep women out. Now Sen. Jake Knotts calls Nikki Haley a raghead. All in a days prejudicial work for that disgraceful human being. Ever wonder why the Civil War started here? Wonder no more. Disgusting.
Between the SC Repubs and the Tea Party racists, it's starting to look like the only way the conservatives can regain power is by brute force. They're sure losing the finesse battle.
Soeone down thereneeds to tell everyone to grow up and start acting like leaders and not a bunch of 2 year old kids.