WILL SHE FOLLOW SUIT?
In a possible preview of her second consecutive status quo “Republican” presidential endorsement, S.C. governor Nikki Haley‘s closest ally in the South Carolina General Assembly has endorsed the candidacy of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.
S.C. Rep. Nathan Ballentine made the announcement over the holiday break. He later appeared at a Rubio rally.
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So … will Haley follow suit?
Perhaps … but perhaps not.
Remember, there’s a lot of drama between Haley and some of Rubio’s top operatives, although it’s worth noting Haley’s top political strategist – former Mark Sanford advisor Jon Lerner – is working for the political action committee that’s backing Rubio’s candidacy.
Also when you think about it, Haley really has nowhere else to go. None of the other status quo “Republican” candidates are even remotely viable in South Carolina – making Rubio the equivalent of the last guy standing at the dance.
And the clock is ticking … Haley made her infamous 2012 endorsement in mid-December of 2011. We’re already nearly a month past that mark in the current cycle.
Unlike 2012, Haley’s endorsement this go-round could provide a real boost to her candidate of choice.
When she endorsed Romney last cycle, Haley was at her nadir – polling at just over 52 percent among “Republican” voters. Today, Haley’s GOP approval rating stands at 81 percent – meaning her nod in a “Republican” primary is no longer a “kiss of death” but a potentially game-changing positive.
Will that positive accrue to Romney? Errr … Rubio?
We’ll have to see …