S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley kicked off her 2014 reelection bid in Greenville, S.C. this week … bringing in a trio of out-of-state governors and a sitting U.S. Senator to her “rally” in front of the city’s 15,000-seat Bi-Lo Center.
Obviously Haley wasn’t holding her event inside the arena (that would have been awkward/ embarrassing visually and acoustically), but we would have expected to see at least several hundred people attend this much-hyped gathering. Especially since Team Haley has been promoting this event for weeks – and since sources tell FITS that these three governors (Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry and Scott Walker) were working the phones personally on Haley’s behalf in an effort to encourage attendance.
According to a photo (above) tweeted by reporter Dolph Bell of The Greenville News, though, Haley’s campaign kickoff crowd was much like her first term in office – a colossal disappointment.
Haley – who drew big crowds in 2010 – has seen attendance at her “movement” rallies fizzle ever since the Tea Party abandoned her (here and here). According to Bell, his initial crowd photo was taken nine minutes after the scheduled start time of Haley’s rally (the governor eventually took the stage a half hour later to the strains of Tom Petty’s 1977 hit “American Girl”).
Eventually we’re told “around 200” people attended the governor’s kickoff, although most of them were staffers of the assembled politicians, local elected officials and members of the media.
Incidentally, not long after Bell’s first photo was posted he sent out another image of the “crowd” – at the urging of Haley’s campaign.
“Haley aide suggested I Tweet another photo of crowd,” Bell wrote prior to posting this …