Tonight’s the night. As I write this, with 15 percent of precincts reporting, she’s up 27 points on Gresham Barrett. Here’s your thread to follow the results. Apart from a few half-hearted attempts at jackassery, the last two weeks were mercifully uneventful — except, of course, for one last-ditch, eleventh-hour, all-important “authenticity” question: Is Nikki Haley
faithful Christian southern enough?
She pledged to retain a political compromise that gave the Confederate flag a place of prominence in front of the State House, a position that puts her within the mainstream among GOP leaders in the state. Further, Mrs. Haley noted that “as a minority female” she was ideally suited to counteract an ongoing boycott led by civil rights groups.
Mrs. Haley chose her words carefully in talking about the causes of the Civil War.
“You had one side of the Civil War that was fighting for tradition, and I think you had another side of the Civil War that was fighting for change,” she said. She did not use the word “slavery” but hinted at it, saying that “everyone is supposed to be free.”
If the early vote totals are any indication, that is indeed sufficiently “southern” an answer. Two other runoffs to watch: Tim Bridgewater and tea-party fave Mike Lee are battling in Utah to see who emerges as the winner of the “Beat Bob Bennett” invitational and, in South Carolina’s 1st District, Strom Thurmond’s son is momentarily getting crushed by Tim Scott, who’s not only Palin-approved but is trying to become SC’s first black Republican congressman since Reconstruction. If he pulls it off — and he’s up 40 points as I write this — then, between him and Haley, the GOP’s going to have quite a narrative going tomorrow morning. Stand by for updates.
Update: Let the weeping of the gargoyles in SC’s GOP establishment begin: The AP calls it for Haley. I’ll post a clip of her acceptance speech as soon as it’s available.