S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley – who moved quickly from Tea Partier to establishment Republican after winning the governor’s office in 2010 – has been moving even further to the left in recent months. Look no further than her anemic budget vetoes – which preserved funding for U.S. President Barack Obama’s signature education initiative, expanded government-run early childhood programs.

Haley has also been ballooning the state’s Medicaid rolls … part of her administration’s curious love-hate relationship with Obama.

What’s behind this shift? Haley’s plan has been to continue moving to what she believes is the state’s “ideological center” – secure in the knowledge that she will not be challenged for the Republican party’s gubernatorial nomination.

Not so fast, Nikki …

Sources tell FITS that a pair of credible fiscal conservatives – one in the Upstate and one in the Lowcountry – are seriously considering challenging Haley for the GOP nod next June. One of these challengers is also seriously eying a third party bid in lieu of a primary challenge – which is where Haley is most vulnerable.

Both would-be Haley opponents have reportedly been “emboldened” by Haley’s less-than-impressive campaign launch – and her recent decision to support the GOP establishment position on defunding Obamacare.

And while Haley’s GOP approval ratings are much higher than her overall numbers, Republican and Democratic pollsters fell FITS the incumbent’s support is “soft.”

Pic: Travis Bell Photography