A spat between two of the more conservative S.C. Republican candidates for governor intensified over the weekend, with sources close to S.C. Rep. Nikki Haley (R-Lexington) accusing a consultant for State Sen. Larry Grooms (R-Berkeley) of orchestrating an attack on one of Haley’s female counterparts in the S.C. General Assembly.
Neither Haley nor Grooms has made significant inroads in the GOP gubernatorial contest, which has been dominated by three establishment Republican candidates – U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer and S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster.
Still, that hasn’t stopped the two campaigns from sniping back and forth at one another.
For example, sources with ties to the Haley campaign tell FITS that a bizarre political attack mailing sent to Spartanburg County voters two months ago – a mailing detailed here – was orchestrated by Grooms’ top campaign consultant, Chris Sullivan.
Among other curious accusations, the mailing alleged that S.C. Rep. Rita Allison – rumored as a potential candidate for Lt. Governor – had been given a high-paying job from Gov. Mark Sanford in exchange for “sexual favors.” Allison – who is old enough to be the governor’s mother – held a press conference days later, which only served to amplify the accusations.
Most Palmetto politicos simply laughed at the rumors, although the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) was called into investigate.
Additionally, these pro-Haley sources alleged that Sullivan had been dismissed from the Grooms campaign as a result of the dust-up.
These reports were first published Sunday by The Garnet Spy, one of the Palmetto State’s emerging political websites.
Sullivan flatly denied the rumors to FITS, stating definitively on the record that he had nothing to do with the Allison attack mailing and that he had not been contacted regarding any investigation of the incident.
Both Sullivan and Grooms also confirmed to FITS that Sullivan is still affiliated with the Grooms campaign.