Haley announces re-election bid in South Carolina
August 26th, 2013
08:48 PM ET
1 year ago

Haley announces re-election bid in South Carolina

Greenville, South Carolina (CNN) - Surrounded by a massive American flag, a modest late-summer crowd and three governors with possible designs on the White House, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announced Monday that she will seek a second term.

At a brief, sun-drenched outdoor rally in downtown Greenville, Haley, one of the most vulnerable members of the 2010 class of Republican governors, asked for another four years in office and rattled off her accomplishments: more than 37,000 new jobs across the state, welfare reform, tax cuts and rigid opposition to President Barack Obama's health care reform law.

"I said when I ran the first time that I don't want to run again if I don't think we're not moving the ball," Haley said. "I need to know we're making a difference, and we're moving the ball. And we did that. It's not what we said, it's what we've done."

Sharing a stage with three out-of-state governors known for their conservative views, Haley looked to be making her re-election message about national issues in an effort to tie her Democratic foe, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, to the policies of Obama, whose lost South Carolina by 10 percentage points in the 2012 presidential race.

Haley denied that was her strategy in a news conference before the rally with two of those governors, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

But Jindal and Perry, who are considering presidential runs in 2016, interjected to talk up the national implications of Haley's contest and other gubernatorial races on the ballot in next year's midterm elections. Republican governors, they argued, offer a blueprint for governance in Washington.

"It's about red states versus blue states," said Perry, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2012 and appeared relaxed in a pair of contemporary, thick-framed eyeglasses before local and national reporters. "It is a national conversation that I hope Americans are engaging with over the course of the next few years."

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker declined to appear at the news conference with Haley but took the stage at the rally to lambaste the public sector unions with which he has tangled in Madison. He highlighted Haley's high-profile clash with the National Labor Relations Board after it tried to block the opening of a Boeing plant in Charleston.

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, an enormously popular figure with the state's conservative base, emceed the rally.

Public polling of the race at this early stage is spotty, but operatives on both sides acknowledge Haley has a built-in advantage given the state's Republican tilt and the governor's power of incumbency.

Democrats, though, are confident that Sheheen, a self-styled country lawyer from Camden, can unseat Haley in a rematch next November. Haley defeated Sheheen in 2010 by just 4 percentage points.

Their optimism was on full display Monday.

The South Carolina Democratic Party brought almost 50 protesters to bracket Haley with a pre-event news conference where party chairman Jaime Harrison attacked the governor's record on education, infrastructure, the state's 8% unemployment rate and a hacking scandal that exposed millions of personal financial records.

"The one thing she is really good at is promoting herself," Harrison said of Haley. "She is not good at fixing our schools, she is not good at building our roads, she is not good at bringing our jobs. She is good at promoting herself and thinking about all of her national aspirations."

The protesters lingered during the announcement speech, often booing loudly from a distance as Perry, Walker, Jindal or Haley unleashed a volley of attacks on Obama.

The timing of Haley's announcement, on a late weekday afternoon in the waning days of August, made for an unexceptional crowd - an audience that included nearly two dozen elected officials. All told, there were about 100 Haley supporters on hand.

Also on hand for the announcement were a number of professional political operatives, no doubt there to catch a glimpse of the three governors who might seek the 2016 GOP presidential nomination – and spend an inordinate amount of time in the early primary state in the process.

Listening to the governors, it seemed the rally was as much about the Obama administration as it was about Haley.

Jindal, for instance, devoted a portion of remarks to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, another potential 2016 candidate. He blasted her handling of the attack in Benghazi, Libya, last year that left four Americans dead.

But Monday was not about anyone's national ambitions, Walker told reporters - before heading to a private Haley fundraiser that would put him in the same room with a number of the state's top GOP powerbrokers.

"Anybody who is focused on anything beyond 2014 is doing a disservice to the party and to the country," Walker said. "We have to make sure governors like Nikki Haley get elected again."


Filed under: Bobby Jindal • Nikki Haley • Rick Perry • South Carolina • Tim Scott
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. ED1

    Hope you win another term.

    August 26, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  2. jinx9to88

    Haley said. "I need to know we're making a difference, and we're moving the ball. And we did that. It's not what we said, it's what we've done." – Notice how she didn't say one thing that she has done since being elected. LMAO. What a joke!!!

    August 26, 2013 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  3. MaryM

    Bye Bye Haley

    August 26, 2013 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  4. regroce

    NLRB did *not* try to block Boeing from coming to South Carolina. NLRB only accepted a complaint that Boeing violated the law in WAshington State. The GOP and Boeing tried to make it look like that, but go read the complaint filed - it specifically says that the union would NOT accept any of the jobs in South Carolina in any settlement. Sick of media twisting that.

    August 27, 2013 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  5. Thomas

    The protesters lingered during the announcement speech, often booing loudly from a distance as Perry, Walker, Jindal or Haley unleashed a volley of attacks on Obama.
    Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Republican governors, they argued, offer a blueprint for governance in Washington.

    The only person missing was the Aqua Buddha !

    August 27, 2013 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  6. true

    Moving the ball? Is this a game to her?

    August 27, 2013 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  7. true

    "It's about red states versus blue states," said Perry....then he uttered,"There is another color too, but I can only remember two of them....."

    August 27, 2013 03:18 am at 3:18 am |
  8. true

    Good thing she changed from a Hindu to a Christian....otherwise she wouldn't have had a chance in THAT state!

    August 27, 2013 03:20 am at 3:20 am |
  9. Marie MD

    Doesn't seem she has done anything to be reelected but it IS south carolina after all.
    No, of course none of these "conservatives" meetings are about 2016 but that is mostly because none of you will be elected president in 2016 and beyond.

    August 27, 2013 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  10. Winston Smith

    Another person that believes that they, and they alone have the right to hold office. She needs to be sent a message, that her services are in no way shape or form needed again. New ideas need to be brought to light. This person and her party are incapable of doing this.

    August 27, 2013 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  11. TomInRochNY

    "It's about red states versus blue states," said Perry

    Way to unite the country, Rick. I knew that was one of the reasons we didn't elect you. I forget what hte other one was.

    August 27, 2013 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    "South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announced Monday that she will seek a second term."

    Bless her heart, but it's not going to happen. Come 2014, Nikki will be on her own. She might just as well spend the time between now and then looking for a private sector job because her days in politics are soon to reach a long over due "sell by" expiration date.

    August 27, 2013 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  13. Southeast

    Reelected 4 what?

    August 27, 2013 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  14. Zerubbabel

    How the MSM will not call these GOP politicians out on their overt extremism is beyond me. The same thing occurred in Nazi Germany as well as after 9/11. A mea culpa after the fact is unacceptable. I guess whoever controls the purse strings and advertisement dollars controls the media. It is a sad day when money Trumps the truth. What a false equivalency.

    August 27, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |