Will Sex Scandal Accusations Derail Haley Bid For Governor Of SC?

Will Sex Scandal Accusations Derail Haley Bid For Governor Of SC?

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In my hometown in South Carolina, we used to have a store called Exotica , a woman’s boutique that has since relocated to Columbia, the state capitol. It was an ornately decorated establishment that looked like a replica of an Indian palace from the outside, with intricately detailed moldings and a vibrant color scheme. The store was owned by Dr. Ajit and Raj Randhawa. It always amazed me that they were able to keep such a business open in state known for khakis and cotton dresses.

Even more amazing is the fact that their daughter, Nimrata Randhawa, would grow up to become Nikki Haley, a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives and the leading candidate for governor in this year’s GOP primary. A victory in the GOP primary would all but assure Haley’s chances of becoming the first Indian-American governor of South Carolina.

This fairy tale like story may not have a happy ending, however.

Political blogger Will Folks, a former aide to S.C. Mark Sanford, alleges that he has had an “inappropriate relationship” with the 37 year old married mother of two, a claim that has consumed the South Carolina political world for the past week.

Will Folks said he was pre-empting the work of political operatives and reporters about to expose the 2007 relationship with his favored candidate and former employer, Republican state Rep. Nikki Haley. Folks wrote they had an “inappropriate physical relationship,” but he listed no other details, gave no proof and declared he would not talk about the matter.

Since then, he has posted a new tidbit each day. There were his text messages with Haley’s campaign alluding to the pressure he was under. Then he wondered aloud whether lack of a libel lawsuit was proof he was being truthful. And he professed dismay at the vehement denial from Haley. “We had no idea that such a vicious assault would be launched against us in conjunction with those denials,” Folks wrote on FITSNews.com.

No news article proving any affair has been published.

Blogger’s relationship claims titillate, frustrate Associated Press

In a region where white males dominate the Republican state party, Haley’s candidacy has defied gravity recently, floating above the campaigns of the current Lieutenant Governor, Andre Bauer, State Attorney General Henry McMaster, and U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett with poll numbers before the allegations hit that indicated 30% support among likely Republican voters, ten points ahead of her nearest competitor. But in a state that was the home of the infamous Lee Atwater, and is well known for dirty political tricks, there is rampant speculation about the motive behind Will Folks and the slow leak of titillating but highly circumstantial information through his blog since last Monday.

“Another day, another delusional missive from a quite obviously obsessed blogger that proves nothing,” Haley campaign manager Tim Pearson said Friday. “Yes, Nikki spoke on the phone with someone who worked for her. She does that frequently, sometimes at length, and sometimes late at night.”

Blogger’s relationship claims titillate, frustrate Associated Press

The most noteworthy release from Folks were copies of what are alleged to be his phone records, showing almost 700 phone calls between Haley and Folks in 2006, a period where Folks actually did some political consulting work for Haley. Some of the calls occurred well after midnight, with a few of them lasting for several hours – the kind of anecdotal evidence that can quickly generate endless speculation among the public without proving anything at all.

The Haley campaign’s dismissal of Folks and his one man assault on Haley’s political future, which will be decided next Tuesday at the ballot box, would make perfect sense if Folks was an unknown blogger who was simply looking to gain notoriety and put his blog on the map. But Folks is a well-connected member of the incestuous world of South Carolina political operatives who has literally walked the plank if his allegations don’t pan out. And superstar politicians who think they are smarter than the average bear, like Haley does, have been known to take a walk on the wild side if they think they can get away with it.

Add the “always ready for a street fight” Sarah Palin to the mix, since she has recently endorsed Haley for governor, and I can guarantee you one thing – the next few days in South Carolina politics will be a political soap opera worthy of the national stage.

1 COMMENT

  1. Anything that Sarah Palin is involved in is suspect! Her

    racial inflammatory statements concerning "our America"

    etc. leave one thinking oh no, not again. Indian's seem to

    gravitate to conservatism and taking jobs that Americans could do if they accepted way less money, and had nicer personalities. Probably trying to block out the

    visual of so many poor people back in their native land that

    need help. One can only hope that this Lady couldn't have adopted "American ways" like those described by Mr. Folks

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