In S.C., ex-Sanford protege Nikki Haley denies affair with ex-Sanford press secretary

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin waves to supporters after she endorses S.C. gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley earlier this month. Associated Press

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin waves to supporters after she endorses S.C. gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley earlier this month. Associated Press

South Carolina is in apparent need of chastity belts. Thousands of them. Unisex, and industrial strength.

Less than a year after Gov. Mark Sanford left for his hike on the Appalachian Trail, two of his former acolytes are in a public argument over whether they slept together.

One of them – the one who says nothing happened — is Nikki Haley, the Republican candidate for governor whose campaign has been surging since an endorsement by Sarah Palin. Jenny Sanford, former wife of the South Carolina governor, is also backing her – as is Georgia’s own Erick Erickson.

Today, in what was pitched as a protest against nefarious political maneuverings, former Mark Sanford press secretary Will Folks posted the following on his Web site, Fitsnews.com:

I have become the primary target of a group that will apparently stop at nothing to destroy the one S.C. gubernatorial candidate who, in my opinion, would most consistently advance the ideals I believe in. For those of you unfamiliar with the editorial bent of this website, the candidate I am referring to is S.C. Rep. Nikki Haley.

This network of operatives has made it abundantly clear that in the process of “taking down” Rep. Haley, they will also stop at nothing to humiliate me, destroy my family and take a sizable chunk out of the credibility this website has managed to amass for itself. Such is the blood sport of S.C. politics, I suppose – particularly in the wake of the scandal that consumed my former boss, Gov. Mark Sanford.

Specifically, within the last forty-eight hours several pieces of information which purportedly document a prior physical relationship between myself and Rep. Haley have begun to be leaked slowly, piece by piece, to members of the mainstream media. I am told that at least one story based upon this information will be published this week. Watching all of this unfold, I have become convinced that the gradual release of this information is deliberately designed to advance this story in the press while simultaneously forcing either evasive answers or denials on my part or on Nikki’s part.

I refuse to play that game. I refuse to have someone hold the political equivalent of a switch-blade in front of my face and just sit there and watch as they cut me to pieces.

The truth in this case is what it is. Several years ago, prior to my marriage, I had an inappropriate physical relationship with Nikki.

That’s it.

I will not be discussing the details of that relationship, nor will I be granting any additional interviews about it to members of the media beyond what I have already been compelled to confirm.

It is what it is, and aside from the Haley family – Michael, Nikki, Rena and Nalin – I feel no need to apologize or explain myself to anyone. People are human. We make mistakes. And as I have learned from experience, the key to life isn’t the mistakes we make, it’s how we choose to handle them.

I do owe my wife, Katrina, an apology for failing to disclose certain things that took place prior to our marriage. I know that’s not the technical definition of infidelity, but it is a form of unfaithfulness that has broken the trust between us – a trust which must now be rebuilt. I also owe her an apology for the storm that my family has been facing for the past few weeks, and the storm we will no doubt continue to face in the weeks to come.

Folks supplies us with no date. Haley, described as a former Mark Sanford protégé, has been married since 1996.

Her reply is contained in this article at The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C.:

In a statement, Haley denied an improper relationship.

“I have been 100 percent faithful to my husband throughout our 13 years of marriage,” Haley said in a statement sent via her campaign this morning. “This claim against me is categorically and totally false.

“It is sad, but not surprising, that this disgraceful smear has taken form less than a week removed from the release of a poll showing our campaign with a significant lead. It is quite simply South Carolina politics at its worst.”

Haley has become a favorite in the four-way gubernatorial race after picking up the endorsement of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin earlier this month.

The June 8 primary is just over two weeks away.

Erickson has posted his skepticism at redstate.com:

This violates the very basic laws of nature: hot women do not have affairs with ugly guys unless those guys are rich.

Palin added this from her Facebook page:

South Carolina: don’t let some blogger make any accusation against your Nikki if the guy doesn’t even have the guts or the integrity to speak further on such a significant claim. And don’t believe anything a liberal rag claims or suggests unless the reporter involved has the integrity and the facts to report to you so you can make up your own mind.

For traditional media to rely on an accusation via some blog entry is almost laughable, but I know the seriousness of it because that’s exactly what my family and colleagues have had to put up with, every single day, for the past couple of years.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

31 comments Add your comment

John Weaver

May 24th, 2010
2:15 pm

I do hope this story in not true! After the S.C. Governor’s affair S.C. was too dis-functional to operate.

wondering

May 24th, 2010
2:22 pm

how much Sarah Palin got for her endorsement?

The Snark

May 24th, 2010
2:27 pm

True or not, these are some seriously old stories.

Between this and the famous 2000 campaign by Bush operatives to smear Sen. McCain with the “black illegitimate child” story, you really have to wonder what kind of people the South Carolina Republican Party has within its ranks.

The General

May 24th, 2010
2:57 pm

I am disappointed to admit that I have never had an affair with Ms. Haley, nor Ms. Palin either.

GOP Voter

May 24th, 2010
3:05 pm

I always say that one is innocent until proven guilty – however, I have learned that where there is smoke, there is usually fire.
The GOP seems to have more than its fair share of hypocrisy……

whatdoiknow

May 24th, 2010
3:22 pm

Everyone knows that Liberals lie, cheat, steal, and screw everyone they can. However, it is unacceptable for a Conservative to chase a little skirt or lift one . . .

nowayouttahere

May 24th, 2010
3:34 pm

Ok Ok I give up, looks like some people want to come clean – could have gotten censored on that one while others want to stay in the back… I am on a role. The way I see it, either the guys has a wild imagination and he is the most loyal DEM I have ever seen or he is truly falling on the sword (will be here all week) and just coming clean. Think that if his wife has caught wind of it that is the best thing to do, don’t cut me slowly, and go ahead pull the scab off. On the other hand, if it were not true I think someone would be calling foe a law suit for defamation of character in a really big way … I crack myself up.

middler and so tired of all the rhetoric :

May 24th, 2010
3:45 pm

The party of family values. Ha Ha Ha! You know the GOP and media is turning over every lead to find this kind of dirt on Dems. Single sex…who cares? Married, extramarital sex…taints your credibility. You can lie all you want but your former partner has fessed up with nothing to gain, lots to lose. Maybe being a holier-than-thou is no longer the way to go in politics. Maybe being human and allowing the opposition to be human is. Missteps, warts, and all. Sara Palin as an endorser? If she likes you I want to take a long, hard look. And after the election, win or lose, she just may turn on you like she did McCain. And SCarolinians…what kind of reps are you people electing and then sticking with?

In the Pink: Texas Monthly

May 24th, 2010
3:49 pm

[...] of South Carolina and one-time protege of Mark Sanford may have done the unthinkable. She may have slept with a blogger. A conservative blogger. HAVE YOU NO SHAME WOMAN? Former Sanford press secretary Will Folks wrote [...]

bart

May 24th, 2010
3:55 pm

The S.C. Repub party must be full of horny, family values hypocrites.

Bill from Cobb

May 24th, 2010
3:57 pm

Should I be worried that a democrat like James Carville is watching my bed at night?

Monroe Burbank

May 24th, 2010
4:10 pm

Bill from Cobb,

No, I wouldn’t worry about a Democrat like James Carville watching your bed at night. He’s a Democrat, Einstein. It’s only the right-wing thought-police who care about what goes on behind your bedroom door.

bart

May 24th, 2010
4:15 pm

In fact, when you look at all the sex scandels the so called family values Republicans have been involved in, it appears they all are horny, hypocrites!

tc

May 24th, 2010
4:33 pm

where’s the drill baby drill crowd now?

Erick son of Erick

May 24th, 2010
4:37 pm

So Erick Erickson is convinced that hot women don’t sleep with ugly guys. Must explain why he never gets any.

SC Voter

May 24th, 2010
4:40 pm

I don’t care what she does in her bedroom. Why is it ok for men to do this, but not women? The only reason someone cared that Mark Sanford did it, is because he did it on the state’s dime, and he wasn’t keeping his eye on the ball when he was supposed to be running the state. Politicians cheating on their spouses is nothing new. Big whoop! The only people she owes an explanation and aoplogy to is her family.

joejoe

May 24th, 2010
4:53 pm

Let me understand this. He said he had sex with the candidate for governor before he got married, but she the candidate says it didn’t happen.

cmk

May 24th, 2010
10:28 pm

What conservatives don’t seem to realize is that it’s not the cheating that people care about, it’s the blatant hypocrisy. Conservatives run on Family Values. Liberals don’t give a damn. If you get a BJ in the oval office, we don’t care. If you finally hit that hot press secretary, or that not-very-hot chick in argentina, we don’t care. If you solicit gay sex in a men’s room, we still don’t care. What we care about is when you go on public record about how much your family values mean to you, and then get caught. Or when you run a vehemently anti-gay campaign, and then get caught soliciting gay sex, or renting a male prostitute to “carry your luggage” for you on your trip. That is that people have a problem with, not the fact that you slept around.

Of course, you could probably find “conservative politician” under the definition of “hypocrisy” in the dictionary, so I don’t expect anything to be changing any time soon. When conservatives finally quit being hypocrites, I expect there will only be one party left anyway, and it won’t be theirs.

Bubba

May 25th, 2010
1:40 am

She’s hot. So why not?

Double Standard

May 25th, 2010
2:06 am

The real question is: can a female in her situation admit to an affair and still win the nomination?

foley

May 25th, 2010
2:54 am

While we’re on the subject of Sara Palin..heard the latest??? “Palin accuses Obama of big oil ties” Has to make one wonder…Does this woman ever think before she speaks…..I must say I am mortified to come from a nation where this woman has a glimmer of hope, no matter how small, of attaining higher office. If that ever happens we should hang our heads in shame

[...] montage with pictures from the Washington Post and Political Insider. Information from FITSNews and Politics [...]

WJ

May 25th, 2010
10:53 am

Why can’t South Carolina Republican Pro Family, Conservative anti liberal tendancy folks keep their drawers on? Could be their really a bunch of opportunists!

News Update – May 25, 2010

May 26th, 2010
10:09 am

[...] Is this just dirty politics from Governor Sanford’s office in South Carolina? [...]

MBAcapitalist

May 26th, 2010
6:13 pm

Its interesting that she denied an affair but nothing else. I don’t think Nikki will withdraw from the race, but this story will not go away and more details will continue to come out. Skepticism has been on how unattractive Folks is. But I hate to break it to you, there were probably other circumstances that probably drew the candidate to do this, including, but not limited to, common political belief with Folks, her unambitious/unattractive husband hasn’t paid her any attention in ages, post-partum depression, mid-life crisis (at 25), or Folks just paid a lot of attention and they worked pretty close together. It seems that Folks is also trying to get ahead of the story, no surprise here. After reading the texts, I find it hard to beleive that they didn’t “hook up” as they say. A long drawn out emotional relationship, probably not. I’m taking a wild guess, but I’m assuming Ford’s wife would be ticked b/c they were probably together in 2007 when Folks was allegedly hitting the sheets with the married candidate. I wonder if we’re going the way of Europe where adultry, infidelity, affairs, mistresses etc are becoming synonymous in American life (Tiger Woods, Jesse James, Gov Sanford, Sen Ensyn of NV….).

Omaar

May 28th, 2010
2:20 am

I Believe at the Debate, Nikki Haley will [Pull A Palin] and Quit Her Run at the Governorship, stating Too Much Pressure on her Family and that Her Family is Much More Important than Holding the Governorship, Watch, Wait & See, what Happens.

She’ll Also Cite The Media and its Lust for Scandal…

She’ll Blame Everyone, Including You Will and Most of All SC Carolina Politics.

She’ll Blame All with one Exception [Herself] for being [Weak] in the Flesh.

Nikki should Look Inside Herself and Blame Herself, for Her Own Vices and Shortcomings, Not the SC Political System, Nor the Mass Media.

Nikki, should Blame Herself…Period.

Where’s that Blue Dress ?

Omaar

May 29th, 2010
7:11 am

Geez Louise, Will…

Niki had a a Ton Of Politicking to do with You, Especially at [Night] and The Later the Better, I Guess ?

If I were her Husband, I would say, what in the Blazes is going on here ?

That is, If I Cared ?

But Obviously, Niki’s Husband Didn’t Care that Much about Her Odd Late Night [Phone Sex Calls] I Mean [Political Calls] and what not ?

I would’ve said to My Wife, “Niki, If You want Will’s Political Advice, Call Him, from 9-7 PM Maybe 9PM, But You’ll Not be getting Phone Sex, I Mean [Political Advice] On Family Time”

Will, This Chick, Couldn’t Contain Herself, Just Like Mark Sanford, Nothing Else Mattered, His Wife, Nor his Children, Will, The Chick was Hooked On You, like a Drug, Just like Sanford was Hooked on Those Long Hikes Up the The Argentine Trail, I Mean the Appalachian Trail.
_____________________

8/7/07 – 10:19 PM – [180 minutes] – incoming 8/9/07 – 10:47 PM – [79 minutes] – incoming 8/20/07 – 9:58 PM – [73 minutes] – incoming 8/25/07 – 2:24 AM – [146 minutes] – incoming 8/26/07 – 9:53 PM – [63 minutes] – outgoing 8/27/07 – 9:59 PM – [72 minutes] – outgoing 8/27/07 – 11:12 PM – 2 minutes – outgoing 8/27/07 – 11:13 PM – 20 minutes – incoming 8/28/07 – 10:05 PM – [40 minutes] – incoming 8/30/07 – 9:28 PM – [133 minutes] – incoming

Omaar

May 29th, 2010
7:21 am

Its OK if a Woman Does it [Sex Outside The Marriage] and when and If a Woman Does it and is Caught, like [Niki Haley] it should Never be [EXPOSED]…

But its Never OK when a Man to Does it [Sex Outside The Marriage] like [Sanford] and when he does it , it should be [EXPOSED 24-7] and let the Chips Fall where they may…Huh

Transparency Huh, When will Pretty Niki Release Her Payment Records for all those [Late Night Telephone Sex Calls]

Er Um, I Mean, [Political Consultant Consultations]?

Why hasn’t she Sued for Defamation of Character ?

Why did she Not Ask for Mark Sanford to Step Down as Governor [Impeachment] as others in the State House had called for ?

Answer: Because Pretty Niki Couldn’t Harshly Judge a Man who like Herself, had some Shortcomings-Weaknesses, like her Own..

I.E. [Lustful Desire for another Man, Outside of her Marriage].

She’s Not being Too Aggressive on Countering Will, Huh and for Good Reason too.

Where’s those Political Consultant FEES for Will’s EXPERTISE, that’s what I want to SEE, Show Me The FEES…Niki Haley, Give Me Proof of those Political Consultant FEES, that You PAID Will Folks, Please by All Means, Prove Yourself to the People of South Carolina.

Niki Knew about the Domestic Abuse Charge Against Folks, But she had No Problems with those Late Night [Phone Sex Calls] Er Um..

I Mean Late Night [Political Consultant Calls] Til 5 AM In the Morning !!

You Know what I’m Referring to…

Niki: You Hang Up

Will: Nah, You Hang Up

Niki: No You Hang Up

Both: Lets Hang Up, Together, then they say, OK, I Love You, Can’t Wait, Til We Talk or Meet Face To Face, Lets Keep it on the DL:The Down Low

DL: Discretion Level

They Both Hang Up: Then say to Themselves, That was some Great Phone Sex..

I mean Will, Gave Niki [Some Great Political Consultant Work]

Madona

June 1st, 2010
4:10 pm

the last poster was so right!!!!! She is just another stupid “conservative” hypocrite….she thinks SHE is a good old boy…yeah right

Art Suarez

June 4th, 2010
6:00 pm

I would so want to get with both Palin and Haley. I do not discriminate when it comes to race. 50% mex, 50% spanish

Omaar

June 6th, 2010
10:16 am

Art,

Both Palin & Haley are Sexy,

But other than that, their Both [Useless]
_________________

Think: Palin has 5 Kids, One Very Recent, she’s in her Mid 40’s ..

How Great Could She Be?

When you Go Beyond the Sexual Fantasy, [Reality] Overrides the Fantasy..

Palin is Hi-Mileage, Hi-Maintenance & She’s Hi-Minded which is [Unjustifiable]

Again, How Great Could Palin Be ?

Not Great at All..

Another Draw Back, Palin’s Speech, as Soon as She Speaks, Your Manlihood Becomes…

[Slinky]

If Palin could Only Remain [Quiet] Something Palin is Incapable of and Unwilling to Do.