John Edwards, John Ensign and Mark Sanford have demonstrated what wandering can do to the careers of male politicians. The impact such allegations have on women in public life may have to wait until Tuesday.
In South Carolina, the Republican candidate for governor Andre Bauer on Wednesday directed attention to a second fellow – through the novel tactic of firing him — who claims to have had a fling with Nikki Haley, Bauer’s rival.
From the The State in Columbia, S.C.:
Republican gubernatorial front-runner Nikki Haley said Wednesday that a rival, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, is behind a last-minute attack, raising questions about her marital fidelity in an effort to undermine her campaign.
With less than a week before Tuesday’s primary, Bauer’s campaign said in a press release Wednesday that a Bauer political consultant, Larry Marchant, was asked to leave the campaign for “inappropriate conduct not in keeping with the goals of this campaign.”
Marchant, contacted by The State, said the conduct the press release referred to was a one-night sexual encounter that he had with Haley during a June 2008 school-choice convention in Salt Lake City.
“I disclosed to Andre Bauer several days ago that I had a one-time indiscretion with Nikki Haley,” said Marchant, an influential and well-known State House lobbyist whose clients include BlueCross BlueShield. “I told him that I didn’t want to do anything to discredit his campaign and that I would resign. He thought that that was in the campaign’s best interest. He appreciated my straightforwardness.”
Haley’s campaign denied the claims and said the allegation is proof of how low rival campaigns will go to undermine her candidacy. Recent polls have shown Haley, a state representative from Lexington County, has a double-digit lead over her three rivals, Bauer of Greenville, U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett of Westminster and state Attorney General Henry McMaster of Columbia.
At a Charleston television debate Wednesday, Haley said Bauer was pushing the infidelity story.
“Y’all were fishing the story (Tuesday) night, and you didn’t fire him (Tuesday),” Haley said to Bauer. “It was only when no one was taking the story seriously, because he was a paid consultant, that you decided to fire him.”
Here’s the defense ad that Haley is running on “the dark side” of South Carolina politics:
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