When it comes to political relationships in South Carolina, the status update should always read “it’s complicated.” Palmetto political bedfellows (often literal ones) are indeed strange. And can change on a dime. A good rule of thumb is that all allegiances are temporary, and today’s handshake (or other interaction) could morph into tomorrow’s backstabbing based on any number of things … shifting public sentiment, an elected office coming open or a coin clinking in the right coffer.
Frenemies … everywhere.
In the case of former United Nations ambassador (and South Carolina governor) Nikki Haley and second-term state representative Nancy Mace, “complicated” is the perfect word for the relationship.
Or lack thereof …
We wrote a year ago about the lingering feud between these two rising Republican stars … and this year Mace (the GOP nominee for the Palmetto State’s first congressional district) has come under attack from Democrats over the issue.
Previous push-polling has blasted Mace for her former ownership interest in FITSNews – which it referred to as a “political gossip website that demeans women.” And a forthcoming advertisement is rumored to expand on this theme – focusing on the particularly “complicated” relationship history between Haley and this news outlet’s founding editor, Will Folks.
Mace sold her interest in FITSNews in 2013 prior to launching an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate against Lindsey Graham. At no time did she have any involvement with the editorial side of the website, and as we previously noted she had “no awareness” of the relationship between Haley and Folks – nor “any involvement its grand revelation” as Haley closed in on the Republican gubernatorial nomination in May of 2010.
Still, Democrats keep bringing up the issue …
“Nancy Mace accused Haley of having an affair with a blogger,” S.C. Democratic party chairman Trav Robertson claimed in a press release back in May, adding that Mace “worked tirelessly to personally smear Nikki Haley and spread salacious rumors about her personal life.”
Those statements aren’t true. Haley’s 2010 Republican primary opponents were the ones making allegations and spreading news of the affair, but it is most certainly true that Haley has held a grudge against Mace for many years over her proximity to Folks.
(Click to view)
As we reported in 2013, Haley went out of her way to hurt Mace (above) both politically and financially – attempting (successfully in some cases) to cost her work with political consulting clients.
Mace reportedly requested a meeting with Haley in the governor’s office in the spring of 2013 in the hopes of burying the hatchet, but her entreaties were rebuffed by Haley.
The meeting was held … but Haley was apparently uninterested in Mace’s olive branch.
And so the feud continued …
Where do things stand now? According to a report filed earlier this week by Caitlin Byrd of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier, a Haley spokesperson confirmed (surprisingly) that the governor “will vote for (Mace)” in the upcoming 2020 election.
“She looks forward to voting for Nancy in November,” the Haley spokesperson told Byrd.
Mace responded by saying she was “honored” to have Haley’s support – and that the former ambassador was “a strong and accomplished leader who I have long admired.”
Haley’s support will undoubtedly help Mace in what is expected to be among the closest congressional elections in America. First-term U.S. congressman Joe Cunningham is one of the top takeover targets of national Republicans this fall – while national Democrats have made it clear they will do whatever it takes to hold onto the seat.
Cunningham has drawn unexpected Republican and conservative support in his reelection bid, incidentally, which makes Haley’s backing of Mace all the more critical.
Stay tuned … we will be very interested in seeing how this “complicated” relationship unfolds in the months to come (particularly if Mace manages to pull off an upset victory over Cunningham come November).
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