With just six days to go before the Republican gubernatorial primary in South Carolina, front-runner Nikki Haley has released an ad that can only be interpreted as a direct response to the still unsubstantiated claim of an affair by blogger Will Folks.
“I’ve seen the dark side of our state’s politics,” the ad begins, with Haley’s voice heard over ominous storm footage. It then flashes to Haley and her husband, along with their two young children, posing on the beach.
The ad, titled “Vision,” continues: “I’m Nikki Haley — and this is my husband Michael,” Haley says, looking purposefully at her husband.
Meanwhile, in last night’s GOP debate in Florence, Haley again denied Folks’ claim of an affair, and her opponents weighed in to support her. Even as Haley again suggested that her enemies were behind Folks claim — “You know, it’s funny to see how no questions were brought up until two weeks prior to the election and when I suddenly became double leader in the polls” — one rival slammed “third parties” for meddling in politics.
Said Rep. Gresham Barrett (R-SC): “You know, I abhor what’s happening to Nikki Haley. To me with third parties, I mean, it has no place in South Carolina. South Carolinians deserve better and expect more. But unfortunately, character does matter. My dad told me early on, it’s not one of the things that matter, it’s the only thing that matters. And if there’s ever been a time in our history, ladies and gentlemen, where we need leaders above reproach, it’s today.”
Barrett’s comments are of particular interest because Folks has hinted that Barrett operatives were pushing the affair story to the media, forcing Folks’ to come forward on his blog last week. Barrett’s campaign has denied involvement.
Watch some highlights from the debate: