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S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley released a statement this week saying that she didn’t want to “tie the hands” of prospective U.S. Senate appointments by making them pledge not to seek the office in 2014.

“I do not want to tie the next U.S. Senator from South Carolina’s hands regarding future office,” said Haley, who has until the end of the month to name an interim replacement to fill the seat being vacated by Jim DeMint.  ”I do not want to deprive our state’s citizens of the chance to render their judgment on the appointee’s performance by way of their vote.”

What did the governor leave out of this statement?

The fact that her former chief of staff Tim Pearson – who is running Haley’s vetting process for the Senate seat (hopefully better than he ran state government) – is extracting a promise from any would-be Senator regarding their “future office” plans.

That promise?

“Anyone who wants to be on the short list must affirmatively pledge to run for the seat in 2014,” a source familiar with the vetting told FITS.

So it turns out Haley is “tying the hands” of her appointment … insisting that the person she selects seek the U.S. Senate seat in two years.

What’s driving Haley’s thought process in all this?

Well, based on the results of two new polls released this month (here and here) Haley is clearly facing an uphill reelection climb.  Could it be that one of her objectives in this process is to eliminate a potential gubernatorial rival?

We’ll see …