Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) - Nikki Haley - a 38-year old Indian-American state legislator who could become South Carolina's first female governor - captured the Republican nomination in dominant fashion Tuesday, dispatching her opponent, U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett, by a more than 30-point margin.
"This is a great night for the Republican Party, which is getting behind the people who have said we want a conservative government and government that is accountable to the people," Haley told supporters at her victory rally in Columbia. "South Carolina just showed the rest of the country what we're made of."
But she added: "Don't get too excited; we're not there yet."
Barrett, who captured 35 percent of the vote to Haley's 65 percent, conceded that Tuesday's result was mostly a foregone conclusion.
"It might not have been a close race," Barrett said. "But it was a good race for South Carolina. It was an honest conversation about the future of this state and the conservative reforms we need for this generation and the next to prosper."
Haley's general election opponent will be state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, arguably the most formidable statewide candidate Democrats have fielded in a decade.