Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) – The Republican gubernatorial runoff in South Carolina started with a bang, but it appears the race will go out with a whimper.
The closing month of the four-way GOP primary took a particularly nasty tone, even by South Carolina's famously bare-knuckle standards, as front-runner Nikki Haley withstood multiple allegations of infidelity and an ethnic slur hurled at her by a self-described "redneck" lawmaker and political foe.
Haley, hoping to become the state's first female governor, nearly cruised to a breathtaking win. She captured just under half the vote and almost avoided a two-week runoff against the second-place finisher, U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett.
But it's been a somewhat sleepy two weeks in the Palmetto state ever since as Haley kept relentlessly to her reform message and Barrett struggled to find ways to blunt her momentum.