Indian American Nikki Haley bounces back in
Washington, May 26, 2010:
Hit hard by a prominent Republican blogger's allegation that he had an "inappropriate physical relationship" with Nikki (Randhawa) Haley, the Indian American Republican candidate in South Carolina governor's race has bounced back into the campaign.
While Haley's campaign experienced an increase in donations Tuesday, the former Massachusetts governor and 2008 Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said in a statement to CBS News: "I stand four square by Nikki Haley".
The mother-of-two Haley, 38, whose husband is a United States Army reserves officer, had became front-runner in the race with the backing of 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin before the allegations of an affair hit the blogosphere.
The claims were threatening to derail her campaign to replace the disgraced former governor Mark Sanford, who fell from grace after he was forced to admit having an affair.
"I don't put much stock in unsubstantiated blog posts that appear at the 11th hour, and neither should the voters of South Carolina," said Romney, who endorsed Haley in the contested gubernatorial primary back in March.
"It's time to return to the issues that matter. Nikki has the conservative record of fighting wasteful spending and advocating for smaller, more efficient government."
Former Alaska Governor Palin also posted her own note reiterating her support on her Facebook page Monday, shortly after the allegation first surfaced when blogger Will Folks wrote about it on the website he founded.
Other conservative activists also came to Haley's defence. While Palin urged her Facebook followers to dismiss the accusation, Erick Erickson, the editor of RedState.com, told his readers to donate to Haley's campaign. On Tuesday afternoon, Erickson started an online "moneybomb" to help "combat the sleazy smears" against Haley.
Meanwhile, a Haley adviser told CNN Tuesday: "Nikki had more online donations yesterday than any other single day of the race. The public knows an unfair personal attack when it sees one."
Haley had so far trailed her three Republican rivals in fundraising for the duration of the campaign and just started airing two statewide television ads.
Haley's opponents for the Republican gubernatorial nomination are Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, Attorney General Henry McMaster and Representative Gresham Barrett.