The Fix: Nikki Haley

Why the South Carolina governor's race is the hottest ticket in town

Why the South Carolina governor's race is the hottest ticket in town

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) will launch her reelection campaign Monday afternoon with the help of some of the biggest names in the party, including Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and Rick Perry of Texas.

A quick glance at what's at stake in Haley's race explains why some of the the heaviest hitters in the party are joining her kickoff event, and why Democrats, too, have such a keen interest in the contest. There are three main reasons why the South Carolina campaign is the hottest ticket across the gubernatorial landscape right now:

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Democrats have their eye on Nikki Haley, but unseating her won't be easy

Democrats have their eye on Nikki Haley, but unseating her won't be easy

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) will kick off her reelection campaign later this month with the help of some of the biggest names in the Republican Party.

To hear Democrats tell it, she's going to need it. Republicans, meanwhile, aren't outwardly concerned about her chances. "I'm confident she will win a by a bigger margin than 2010," predicted Jon Lerner, a top Haley strategist.

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South Carolina Democrats enjoy rare rays of sunshine

South Carolina Democrats enjoy rare rays of sunshine

There isn't a single Democratic constitutional officer in South Carolina. Democrats control just one of nine seats in Congress. President Obama lost the state twice by an average of about 10 points. And in 2010, the party nominated Alvin Greene for the Senate, an inexperienced candidate who faced allegations of obscenity.

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Nikki Haley appoints Rep. Tim Scott to Senate

Nikki Haley appoints Rep. Tim Scott to Senate

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) announced Monday that she will appoint Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) to the Senate.

Scott will replace Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who is leaving the chamber in January to head up the conservative Heritage Foundation.

"It is with great pleasure that I am announcing our next U.S. senator to be Congressman Tim Scott," Haley said. "I am strongly convinced that the entire state understands that this is the right U.S. senator for our state and our country."

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The case for Tim Scott

The case for Tim Scott

The choice of who will replace Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) for the next two years rests with one person and one person alone: Nikki Haley.

And it's much harder to handicap an appointment than an election.

But when it comes to the choice before Haley, one candidate quickly stands out as making a whole lot of sense to join the upper chamber: Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

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Gov. Nikki Haley to fill DeMint's seat by appointment

Gov. Nikki Haley to fill DeMint's seat by appointment

South Carolina law dictates that resigning Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-S.C.) seat is to be filled by an appointment -- specifically, one made by Gov. Nikki Haley (R).

DeMint announced Thursday that he will resign in January to become the next head of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Haley's appointment will serve until the next general election, which in South Carolina is in 2014.

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What the Republican convention speakers say about the GOP

Republicans have added four names to Monday’s initial list of seven speakers who will address the party’s national convention in Tampa, Florida later this month. Each of the 11 picks says something about the party — and the image GOP nominee Mitt Romney wants to convey as he seeks to introduce (or reintroduce) himself to a national audience.

Of the 11 announced speakers, four are women, five are current governors and three are men Romney has run against for president.


Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., left, accompanied by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington Thursday Oct. 13, 2011, to discuss the introduction of a Republican alternative jobs bill. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Below is a rundown of the names and why they were chosen.

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Nikki Haley’s succession problem

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley insists she will not be the Republican vice presidential nominee this year, going so far as to argue that she would turn down the job if it were offered to her.

But the ship may have sailed on that offer a few weeks back when her lieutenant governor resigned in the face of an indictment.
Crowd members listen as South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) discusses a plan to bring meaningful tax relief to South Carolina families and businesses during a stop in Garden City, S.C., last month. (AP Photo/The Sun News, Steve Jessmore)

No, the episode wasn’t politically damaging to Haley; the now-ex-lieutenant governor, Ken Ard, was elected separately from her.

But it does raise a troubling succession issue for her as it relates to the vice presidential sweepstakes.

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Is Haley popular enough to help Romney?

CONWAY, S.C. — Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has a simple message as she tours the state with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Romney, she tells voters, would be her ally in the White House. He would help her implement immigration and voter ID policies that the Obama administration has fought. He gets it. If you like me, she’s saying, you should vote for Romney.
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is introduced by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley at a campaign event Thursday in Charleston, S.C. (David Goldman - AP)

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South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley endorses Romney

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) endorsed Mitt Romney for president on Friday, landing the former Massachusetts governor one of the most coveted endorsements in the presidential race.

Haley made the announcement on Fox and Friends this morning, and in a release from the Romney campaign, she said Romney has the right business background for the job.

“Neither South Carolina nor the nation can afford four more years of President Obama, and Mitt Romney is the right person to take him on and get America back on track,” Haley said.

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