(CNN) – It was shortly after midnight ET when South Carolina Governor-elect Nikki Haley stepped before her supporters in Columbia.
"Trust me, we wanted to be here earlier than we were," she told them. Then, waving both arms, she exhorted the crowd, "But get excited!"
Haley, a Republican State Representative, defeated Democratic State Senator Vincent Sheheen and will become South Carolina's first-ever female governor as well as the nation's only Indian-American female governor. "You know, tomorrow morning there's going to be a lot of news and a lot of observers that say we made history and in some ways, you can look at me and say we did," Haley told the crowd. "But what I want this to be is that we're turning a page. We're turning a page on where we've been but the history's going to be on where we go."
Haley, whose political outlook echoes many Tea Party themes, was buoyed by Sarah Palin's endorsement during last June's crowded GOP primary. Tonight Haley told her supporters, "Eighteen months ago, I saw a state and a federal government losing control. Arrogant in its spending. Arrogant in its responsibility and a need to step up and say we need to take our state and our country back." She continued, "We wanted government to remember that every dollar was not government's money it's the taxpayers' dollars and how we spend it matters. Today the people of south carolina embraced that message."
"This movement was never meant to be about a person. It was never meant to be about an election," said Haley, "This movement was about to be how we take our state and our country back."