The word “historic” was tossed around repeatedly on Tuesday evening in the American state of South Carolina and beyond as Indian-American Nikki Haley comfortably bested her rival and captured the Republican Party nomination to run for the Southern state’s Governor in November this year.
Haley, 38, is favoured to win the election against Democrat Vince Sheheen as South Carolina is a Republican bastion. If she does win, she’ll create history several times over — she’ll be South Carolina’s first woman governor, the first person from a minority community to be the state’s governor, and above all, the first female Indian-American to become governor of a US state.
Bobby Jindal, Louisiana’s governor, is the only other Indian-American to occupy this post.
Born Nimrata Randhawa, Haley, at her victory party, surrounded by her Sikh parents, her husband Michael Haley and their two children, Rena and Nalin, said: “This a great night for the thousands of people across the state who believed in this underdog campaign and the message of reform.”
Her victory was emphatic. She beat US Representative Gresham Barrett by a nearly 30 per cent vote margin. Haley had missed avoiding this run-off by less than one per cent of the vote on June 8 during the Republican primary.