Political Animal


December 13, 2012 10:22 AM “Our Nikki” Navigating Turbulent Waters

By Ed Kilgore

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has been back in the national news thanks to her power to appoint a temporary successor to the conservative movement’s Grand Poohbah, Sen. Jim DeMint. This came on the heels of her largely undeserved inclusion earlier this year on every list of potential running-mates for Mitt Romney.

But truth is, the woman that Sarah Palin described to South Carolinians as “Your Nikki” is not in terribly good shape in her own state as she looks forward to a probable re-election run in 2014. A recent Progressive Policy Polling survey of SC shows Haley with a pallid 42/49 approval/disapproval rating, and also trailing 2010 opponent Vincent Sheheen in a hypothetical rematch. Given Haley’s often-stormy relationship with legislative leaders from her own party, and bipartisan perceptions that she’s self-involved to an unhealthy extent, Democrats in the Palmetto State are licking their chops at the prospect of her again leading the GOP ticket.

You’d better believe her own prospects in 2014 will have a big effect on what she does with the DeMint replacement. Whoever gets it better bring some significant support for Haley to the table.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on December 13, 2012 10:31 AM:

    Nikki had better make a smart pickee,
    Or her chances for reelection get quite sticky.

    Of course, in SC, "smart" is a relative term.

    If intelligence were the deciding criterion, many spotted salamanders, the state amphibian, would be holding office rather than Republicans.

  • boatboy_srq on December 13, 2012 10:45 AM:

    Sounds like "Darling Nikki" is getting ground. (H/T Prince)

  • Lola on December 13, 2012 10:49 AM:

    Nice effort, very informative

  • Ronald on December 13, 2012 10:49 AM:

    It won't matter who she picks, she's bound to piss somebody off.

  • low-tech cyclist on December 13, 2012 11:38 AM:

    Gov. Haley's got a little data security problem at home: insufficient protection resulted in the theft of the tax records of 4,500,000 SC taxpayers, 1,900,000 of their dependents, 3,800,000 bank account numbers, and some credit card numbers as well.


    To top it all off, Gov. Haley blamed the Feds for the breach. Apparently it's their fault because - get this! - they didn't impose strong enough mandates on state taxing authorities.

    That's right - Nikki is demanding stronger Federal regulation, now that her people have goofed catastrophically in its absence.

    Quoting from Gov. Haley's letter to the acting IRS commissioner:

    "While this incident was entirely caused by a malicious criminal hacker, the investigation of how this breach occurred has unfortunately revealed that the IRS does not require encryption of stored tax data, only transmitted data.

    "IRS Publication 1075, 'Tax Information Security Guidelines for all Federal, State, and Local Agencies,' sets forth 128 pages of detailed 'Safeguards for Protecting Federal Tax Returns and Tax Information,' and yet it does not unequivocally require states to encrypt tax information that is stored or 'at rest'."

    She adds:

    "It must be the responsibility of - not only the states, but also - the federal government to ensure that personal, sensitive information required to be provided to government by our citizens be vigorously protected to deter cyber-attacks and minimize exposure."