Despite claims the married, family-values Republican had affairs with two political aides, state Rep. Nikki Haley screwed three men out of any likelihood of becoming governor but fell just a hair short of winning the GOP nomination without a runoff in Tuesday’s South Carolina primary.

(Photo by Rich Glickstein / The State)

However, the heat is likely to last through the June 22 runoff and probably into November, if Haley wins and goes on to the general election.  One of the men claiming an “inappropriate physical relationship” with  Haley, political blogger and consultant Will Folks, continued to sound like a spurned lover.

“In fact, she could have admitted to kissing me one time and that would have been the end of it as far as I was concerned,” Folks blogged on Saturday.  “I certainly would have never confirmed nor denied anything beyond that.”

Political consultant and insurance lobbyist Larry Marchant agreed to take a lie detector test in an attempt to prove he had a one-night stand with Nikki Haley at a school-choice conference in Salt Lake City in 2008.  His former boss, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, one of Haley’s GOP opponents, decided to take a polygraph, too, in an effort to dismiss Haley’s contention that he was behind Marchant’s claim. Will Folks’ website, FITSnews reported that Bauer passed.

Nikki Haley left Andre Bauer dangling dead last in Tuesday’s vote.  The man who once compared welfare families to stray animals got a mere 12.45 percent of the vote.  Haley outpolled her runoff opponent, U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett, by more than 2 to 1, with 48.86 percent of the vote to his 21.76.  Attorney General Henry McMaster, once the darling of tea partiers for leading a legal challenge to the insurance mandates in President Barack Obama’s health care reform, finished third with 16.94 percent of the vote.  It was Haley who wound up with star tea partiess Sarah Palin’s endorsement.

Will Folks says he was prepared to endorse Nikki Haley himself, declaring her three opponents to be “as worthless as tits on a bull.”  But he contends she “flat-out lied” about their relationship.

“Rep. Haley’s supporters have waged a vicious smear campaign against me,” Folks wrote in his recent blog post.  ” In addition to their full-frontal assault on my credibility and the credibility of my website, I have been bombarded with all manner of threats and attempts on their part to portray me as part of the ‘good ol’ boy’ network that is seeking to bring Rep. Haley down.”

Will Folks still insists that he went public with the alleged 2007 affair only because the media were about to publish stories about it, although editors at a couple of the newspapers he cited contend they had no such stories in the works, largely because they couldn’t prove the sex rumors to be true.

Folks, who served as Gov. Mark Sanford’s spokesman from 2001 to 2005, says he has “refrained from discussing the ‘feelings’ Rep. Haley and I had for each other because I believe South Carolinians have suffered through more than enough emotional ‘over-disclosure’ from our politicos.  Heck, one Mark Sanford interview alone provides more than enough ‘sharing’ to last the people of this state a lifetime.”

Allegations that she cheated on her husband by banging her political associates, however, was not the cheapest shot fired at Nikki Haley. State Sen. Jake Knotts of Lexington called her a “raghead,” an apparent reference to her Indian heritage.  Her parents are Sikhs, but Haley is Methodist. “We’ve got a raghead in Washington, we don’t need a raghead in the Statehouse,” Knotts said on an Internet political talk show.  He later apologized and said it was just a little joke.

Related: South Carolina’s sleazy, sex crazed race for governor

Meanwhile, in Alabama: Speaking English was not enough to get Tim James, son of former Gov. Fob James, in the Republican runoff for governor.  In spite of his TV ads promising to have driver’s license tests conducted only in English to keep illegal immigrants at bay, James finished 170 votes behind the second-place finisher, state Rep. Robert Bentley, according to complete but unofficial returns announced a week after the election. Former two-year college system Chancellor Bradley Byrne finished ahead of James, Bentley and four other Republicans to secure a spot in the July 13 runoff.  James says he will demand a recount.  For those of you who might have missed the ad …

And the parody:

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Ron Taylor

Ron Taylor

Ron Taylor was born and raised in Georgia and worked more than 40 years at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a reporter and editor and as an online producer for and AccessAtlanta. He served for a time as the newspaper's regional editor, overseeing coverage of the South. He is co-author, with Dr. Leonard Ray Teel, of Into the Newsroom:  An Introduction to Journalism and has conducted workshops in the Middle East on feature writing.

  1. Virtual eroticism. Is that like conspicuous consumption–a figment of the imagination? I suppose, if people aren’t going to consider actual achievements in selecting public officials, they might as well indulge their own fantasies.

    South Carolina is a quirky place. Did anyone notice the Democrats picked an unknown, Alvin Greene, who didn’t campaign, over a known, who didn’t campaign but was planning to, to be the U.S. Senate candidate in November? Seems like people appreciate choice, even if it’s just “paper or plastic;” or, just because. If choices have to be made, “paper or plastic” is a good one.

  2. Terri Evans

    Ron, what a great lede. Thanks for keeping us current on the current affairs in the Palmetto state.

  3. What, you wonder, do voters consider when electing people? All is not well with Greene. As reported in media outlets such as the NYDailynews,com, “Democratic leaders begged their surprise Senate nominee to quit yesterday upon learning he’s facing charges of flashing porn at a coed.

    Alvin Greene, 32 and unemployed, shocked the Palmetto State’s political establishment Tuesday night when he came out of nowhere – he didn’t even have campaign signs – to beat well-funded fellow Democrat Vic Rawl, an ex-judge.

    But Greene’s win – credited to the race’s low interest and his higher position on the alphabetized ballot – apparently wasn’t the only shocker the Army vet had in store.

    Court records show Greene was arrested in November and charged with showing obscene Internet photos to a University of South Carolina co-ed, a felony. He has yet to enter a plea or be indicted.

    The revelation prompted the leader of the state Democratic party yesterday to ask that Greene remove himself from the race.

    “I did not do this lightly, as I believe strongly that the Democratic voters of this state have the right to select our nominee,” party chairwoman Carol Fowler said.

    “But this new information about Mr. Greene…would certainly have affected the decisions of many of those voters.”

    No chance, said Greene, who yesterday vowed to forge ahead with his extreme-longshot campaign to unseat popular Republican Sen. Jim DeMint.

    “The Democratic Party has chosen their nominee, and we have to stand behind their choice,” Greene told the Associated Press at his home in Manning. “The people have spoken. We need to be pro-South Carolina, not anti-Greene.”

    ABC News reported on another skeleton: Greene was involuntarily booted out of the Army in August after a 13-year military career that included time as an intelligence specialist and later a unit supply specialist.

    He declined to discuss details of his discharge, telling ABC only, “Things just weren’t working.”

    In the court case, Greene is charged with “disseminating, procuring or promoting obscenity” in Richland County, S.C., and could face up to five years in prison.

    Neither Greene’s attorney nor a woman listed as the victim immediately returned messages to the AP.

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