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.
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.
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