SC candidate addresses racial slur, alleged affairs

By Tom Roussey - bio l email

ROCK HILL, SC (WBTV) - Amid two allegations of adultery and the news a fellow Republican had called her a racial slur, candidate for governor Nikki Haley came to a campaign rally in Rock Hill Friday.

Haley, a Lexington County state representative, has been accused by two men in two weeks of having slept with them.  Now it's come to light that Republican state senator Jake Knotts, also of Lexington County, has called her a racial slur.

At a taping for an internet political talk show Thursday night, Knotts said of Haley:

"We already got one raghead in the White House.  We don't need another in the governor's mansion."

Haley is the daughter of immigrants from India.  "Raghead" is a racial slur.

"You know what I've always done is control what I can control," Haley said when asked about the racial slur after Friday's rally.  "I can't control when someone's ignorant."

Haley also addressed the allegations of adultery when WBTV asked about them.  She says they have a lot to do with a recent poll that showed her leading the three men running against her for the Republican nomination.

"I went from being Nikki who? four weeks ago to suddenly, two weeks ago, we surprised everybody by being double digits ahead of everybody in the polls," she said.  "And out of nowhere, all the sudden things started to happen. When you fight the establishment...they're going to fight back.  But what they don't understand is all that does is make me more determined."

The first accusation of sex came from political blogger Will Forks, who says he had an affair with Haley in 2007.

The second came this week from Larry Marchant, who claims a one night stand in 2008.

Both men have at least some ties to Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, who is one of the men running against Haley in the primary.

Forks has had a business relationship with Bauer, while Marchant worked for the Bauer campaign until this week.

Bauer's campaign fired him for "inappropriate conduct."  Marchant says it was after he told Bauer about his alleged one-night stand with Haley.

Marchant insists the timing wasn't political, even though the news came out less than a week before the primary June 8th.  Haley said Friday that's absurd.

"This started literally after they released the poll," she said.  "And they will keep on doing this."

Haley's husband Michael joined her at Friday's Rock Hill rally.  He refused WBTV's request for an on-camera interview, but did say 'yes' when asked if he supported his wife a hundred percent.

A campaign worker literally stepped in-between Michael Haley and another reporter who started asking him questions, saying Michael Haley wouldn't do interviews even though he appeared like he was about to say something.

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