A former leader of the S.C. Republican Party is forming a group to go after GOP gubernatorial nominee Nikki Haley, sources tell FITS. Cyndi Mosteller – the former 1st Vice Chairwoman of the SCGOP – is the leader of the new organization, which is reportedly targeting numerous GOP women as potential members. Mosteller’s group doesn’t have a name yet, but a pair of female Republicans who are involved with its formation tell FITS that they are considering calling themselves “Republicans for Truth in Politics” or “Conservatives for Truth in Politics.”
Hmmmm … “just the TIP?”
A press conference unveiling the new group could take place within a week, and an “aggressive earned media campaign” would begin shortly thereafter. That campaign will have to be pretty aggressive considering that Haley is currently running away with the election – enjoying a 17-point lead over Democrat Vincent Sheheen according to the latest Rasmussen Reports poll.
Mosteller, a Lowcountry social conservative, penned an opinion-editorial in The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper last week challenging Haley to come clean regarding two public allegations of infidelity that were made against her during the GOP primary.
“These accusations about her personal life need to be addressed in some way,” Mosteller wrote.
Mosteller challenged Haley to sign a sworn affidavit denying the affair allegations and called on her to release all of her email correspondence – a gauntlet she also threw down to Haley’s accusers, lobbyist Larry Marchant and FITS founding editor Will Folks.
Haley has maintained that she has been 100 percent faithful to her husband over the course of their 13-year marriage, although she has yet to answer questions under oath about either alleged affair. While no “smoking gun” has been unearthed in either case, Folks has released dozens of text messages documenting his decision to come forward and admit his affair with Haley.
In one of those texts, Haley’s campaign manager Tim Pearson wrote “we keep this under wraps and (Haley) is going to win.”
Additionally, Folks released phone logs that showed dozens of late-night phone conversations between himself and Haley after the Lexington Republican claimed in a radio interview that she “barely knew him.”
Marchant has released little information related to his claim that he and Haley had sexual relations at an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) event in Salt Lake City in 2008.
Last month, Haley attempted to put the transparency debate to bed by releasing a select batch of public emails (mostly political spam) from one of her state-owned accounts. Haley’s select disclosure came three months after reporters initially requested access to her emails – and only included emails from her “G” drive, which is where most political spam (and constituent email) is sent. She refused to release any information from her “L” drive, which is where lawmakers conduct the majority of their electronic correspondence. Also, the emails Haley released in August only cover the time period ranging between April and June of this year – making them totally irrelevant to reporters seeking to investigate the affair allegations that have been made against her.
More importantly, Haley did not release any information from her state-issued computer hard drives – which keep a permanent record of all sent and received messages, as well as any deleted emails.
To her credit, Haley managed to deftly turn the affair allegations – and a subsequent racist remark from S.C. Sen. Jake Knotts – into a wave of voter indignation against “good ole boy politics,” a wave she proceeded to ride to the GOP nomination.
Since then, the debate over Haley’s alleged affairs has been virtually nonexistent.
UPDATE: According to a media advisory we just received, Mosteller and Clemson professor Dave Woodward will unveil the “Committee for Truth in Politics” at a press conference at the S.C. State House on Thursday, September 30 at 4:00 p.m.