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Republicans bitterly divided on supporting Haley

world Updated: Jun 17, 2010 15:03 IST

The Republican Party is bitterly divided over supporting Indian-American Nikki Haley who is facing a run-off on June 22 to bag the party's nomination for the November's South Carolina's gubernatorial elections, a media report said.

Nikki Haley, born Nimrata Randhawa, sought into national limelight recently as she got the maximum votes in
the primary elections this month, much ahead of the four other prominent contenders; but could not get the necessary 50
percent to avoid the run off.

The Politico on Thursday reported that while most of the eminent South Carolina Republican leaders have ganged up
against Haley, 38, in days ahead of the run-off, country's top Republican leaders including Sarah Palin, the former Alaska
Governor, and Mitt Romeny, the former Massachusetts Governor, have been pushing for her.

Palin and Romney consider Haley as an emerging national Republican leader.

"It's an unusual spectacle: a rare instance in which state and national GOP interests are utterly divergent and at
odds," Politico said.

Haley is facing Gresham Barrett in the June 22 runoff.

Politico said Gresham Barrett, backed by a high-priced team of veteran consultants, has launched a two-week,
take-no-prisoners assault to defeat her.

"Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who came in a distant fourth in the Republican primary, has endorsed Barrett. So has the South
Carolina Chamber of Commerce. And some of her statehouse colleagues, after eight tumultuous years of Gov. Mark Sanford,
are determined to stop Haley — a Sanford protégé — from taking the top job," it reported.

The newspaper said South Carolina's political insiders are siding with Barrett for a different reason — they expect a
Haley victory would result in another toxic legislative-executive relationship, with more statehouse gridlock.

Some observers believe the state GOP establishment's resistance to Haley could play into her hands, resonating with
voters who are in an anti-incumbent mood and sick of Columbia's politics as usual.

"She could take that one and knock it out of the park, too," Chris Cooper, a national Democratic strategist and South
Carolina native, was quoted as saying by the Politico.