SC congressman now underdog

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COLUMBIA --  U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett is assuming the underdog status after voters narrowly sent him and frontrunner S.C. Rep. Nikki Haley to the GOP gubernatorial runoff ballot.

U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett greets supporters in downtown Greenville, S.C. on Tuesday, June 8, 2010.   AP
AP
U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett greets supporters in downtown Greenville, S.C. on Tuesday, June 8, 2010.

"We've been counted out more than a few times," said Barrett in a statement Tuesday night.

His comments came hours after polls closed Tuesday in a primary election in which GOP candidates carefully cultivated images as outsiders shaking up the establishment or fighting the federal government.

"But yesterday took the cake:  I read two stories on our race previewing the final 24 hours.  One said there wouldn't be a runoff.  The other says there was gonna be a runoff all right. Just without me in it."

Thanking supporters, the four-term congressman added, "We beat the odds, we defied the experts, we made the run-off and now we've got two weeks to work hard ... ."

On Tuesday Haley collected 49 percent of the vote, about 1 percent shy of being the party's nominee and preempting a June 22 runoff. Barrett, with the next-highest vote total, received 22 percent in the four-way contest. The winner will face Democrat Vincent Sheheen, a state senator from Camden, in the Nov. 2 election.

Less than a month ago, it was Haley, a 38-year-old state legislator who was the long shot -- and making the most of it.

It all changed for the married mother of two on May 14.

That's when Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin held a rally for Haley on the state Capitol steps, marking a dramatic turning point for Haley's candidacy. Earlier former state first lady Jenny Sanford had also campaigned for the Lexington Republican.

 
Palin had noted that although her husband Todd could not attend the Columbia rally her spouse was, "wishing his very best to Nikki, knowing what she's probably going through, kind of being the underdog, being the fighter, being the winner that she is ... . We went through the same thing."

Haley's poll numbers shot up after the Palin endorsement, and two men stepped forward claiming they had an extramarital affair with Haley. Next a state senator referred to Haley, an Indian American, and President Obama, as a "raghead," a slur aimed at people of Arab descent.

At least one male lobbyist and a male legislator said it was the best thing that could have happened to her. 

Still, Haley's challenge now is to retain her scrappy-outsider appeal, despite handing off her underdog status to Barrett.

On Wednesday, Rep. Vida Miller, D-Pawleys Island, who chairs the S.C. Women's Legislative Caucus, said the sexual allegations and the ethnic slur were probably the product of both Haley's gender and her front-runner status.

"I do think it's been a contributing factor to her overall success," said Miller. "I do think folks are sympathetic."

Reach Sarita Chourey at sarita.chourey@morris.com or (803)  727-4257

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johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 06/10/10 - 06:53 am
0
0
Haley, like Barrett, is much

Haley, like Barrett, is much more than a Republican, she's a conservative constitutionalist. That's something you'll not find associated with the socialist Dems that control the opposition. Barrett had a good position and was doing a good job in the U.S. House. He was a shoo in for reelection. Taking the risk to run against Haley and McMasters, two equally qualified conservatives, may not have been the wisest choice.

Dixieman
12797
Points
Dixieman 06/10/10 - 06:54 am
0
0
I like Nikki...good,

I like Nikki...good, conservative politics, plus she is HOT!

Dixieman
12797
Points
Dixieman 06/10/10 - 06:55 am
0
0
I agree with Johnstoncliff.

I agree with Johnstoncliff.

CATFISHSTEW
14
Points
CATFISHSTEW 06/10/10 - 08:04 am
0
0
I don't think Barrett did

I don't think Barrett did that good of a job in the U S House. I called him a few years back..with a concern I had and all I got from him and his office staff was stammering and answers that made no since. The concern was why were our Marines and Military guarding OPIUM POPPY fields in Pakistan instead of destroying them..They are still growing and we are still guarding them. Just like the Mexican Border, the drugs keep marching in So much for the"WAR ON DRUGS".

CATFISHSTEW
14
Points
CATFISHSTEW 06/10/10 - 08:04 am
0
0
I don't think Barrett did

I don't think Barrett did that good of a job in the U S House. I called him a few years back..with a concern I had and all I got from him and his office staff was stammering and answers that made no since. The concern was why were our Marines and Military guarding OPIUM POPPY fields in Pakistan instead of destroying them..They are still growing and we are still guarding them. Just like the Mexican Border, the drugs keep marching in So much for the"WAR ON DRUGS".

curly123053
4188
Points
curly123053 06/10/10 - 08:23 am
0
0
I personally think Barrett

I personally think Barrett ought to step aside. 49% to 22%....He sees the painting on the wall.

GAterp
2
Points
GAterp 06/10/10 - 09:58 am
0
0
And whomever is the Governor

And whomever is the Governor of SC is important exactly why?

Many Arrows
-1
Points
Many Arrows 06/10/10 - 10:17 am
0
0
Barrett is exactly the kind

Barrett is exactly the kind of fake "republican" we are rejecting. He voted for every wild spending bill and new social program that George W. Bush put in front of him. Barrett is no conservative. Good riddance when he loses.

nofrills
0
Points
nofrills 06/10/10 - 06:04 pm
0
0
Barrett needs to step aside.

Barrett needs to step aside. He is going to waste our tax money in a run off just to confirm what the people of South Carolina really want. I honestly think Haley might surprise us and do a great job. Her work record is awesome.

dwb619
86222
Points
dwb619 06/10/10 - 07:26 pm
0
0
write in:RITA JENRETTE

write in:RITA JENRETTE

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