The proof is in the e-mails, according to FitsNews.com.
Blogger Will Folks’ website reported today that Folks and state Rep. and GOP gubernatorial Candidate Nikki Haley corresponded from November 2005 to three days ago, when a text sent from Folks cell phone to Haley’s informed her that Folks felt he had no choice but to address rumors of their relationship.
The website article, penned anonymously — like many of its entries — implied the e-mails could shed “a lot” of light into their relationship but didn’t include any details, saying only “stay tuned.”
On Monday, with about two weeks before Republican voters will select their nominee for governor, Folks, a political blogger and former spokesman for Gov. Mark Sanford, announced he had an "inappropriate physical relationship" with Haley, a married mother of two.
Haley wasted no time firing back. She said Folks, who is her former campaign consultant, is lying.
It was a brutal introduction to the last-minute, take-no-prisoner nature of South Carolina politics for Haley, who last week was deemed the frontrunner in the four-way race for the GOP nomination to succeed the term-limited Sanford.
Sanford, meanwhile, said Tuesday morning he would not take questions about the Haley/Folks situation.
Sanford joined legistlative leaders and children's advocates today for the signing of legislation that speeds up and improves the process that allows South Carolina's foster children to be placed in permanent adoptive homes.
When asked how he thought Haley handled herself Monday, Sanford said he was at hte event to talk about the adoption legislation and asked whether the reporter had questions about the law. When the answer was negative, Sanford turned away from the reporter and began talking to the parents at the press conference.
Haley, on the offensive yesterday, appeared on Keven Cohen's WVOC-AM show.
"They unleashed a tiger," the Lexington County representative told Cohen.
She said the attacks on her marriage were dirty political tricks that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin had warned her to expect.
Palin endorsed Haley over GOP candidates U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer and Attorney General Henry McMaster. The endorsement was a game-changer for Haley, who had been considered a dark-horse candidate until then.
Haley's campaign announced Thursday that the independent public polling firm Rasmussen Reports put her in the lead. The poll, taken May 17 of likely Republican primary voters, found Haley with 30 percent of the support to McMaster's 19 percent, Barrett's 17 percent and Bauer's 12 percent.
"I warned her and her family that she would be targeted because she's a threat to a corrupt political machine, and she would be put through some hell," Palin wrote on her Facebook page.
Folks wrote about the "inappropriate physical relationship" on his blog, FitsNews.com, one of the state's most popular and controversial political blogs that declares itself to be "Unfair. Imbalanced."
Folks said he felt compelled to confess the relationship, as he said word was leaking out to the media.
"I refuse to have someone hold the political equivalent of a switchblade in front of my face and just sit there and watch as they cut me to pieces," he wrote. "The truth in this case is what it is. Several years ago, prior to my marriage, I had an inappropriate physical relationship with Nikki."
Folks has written admiringly of Haley over the years. In a 2008 blog entry, he wrote that Haley was "hot as hell" and "if showering her with our unceasing affection is wrong, we don't wanna be right." The comments came early in an entry that began: "We're frequently accused of showing a little too much love to S.C. Rep. Nikki Haley, to which we can only say 'we wish' (ba doom ching)."
Folks has long been a controversial figure.
He pleaded guilty to a domestic violence charge in 2005 to an alleged assault that occurred in the days after he had given the governor's office his resignation to launch his own business, Viewpolitik LLC.
Haley hired Folks' company for consulting work in 2007 and 2008. She spent $1,310 in 2008 and $3,530 in 2007, according to campaign disclosure reports.
Longtime South Carolina political analyst Neal Thigpen, a retired Francis Marion University professor, said Folks' claims are suspect. Thigpen said Folks' blog aren't always truthful and Thigpen said he suspects that another campaign put Folks up to launching an attack on Haley.
"I would not say it's par for the course," Thigpen said. "We've had a lot of bare-knuckles stuff here over the years, but this comes particularly as Representative Haley is on a roll. Why at this moment? It's obviously structured to try and stop her momentum."
The Post and Courier asked Folks on Monday to provide evidence of his accusation but Nancy Mace, co-owner and president of FitsNews.com, said in an e-mail that Folks will not discuss the matter further. Mace, on behalf of Folks, also had no comment on Haley's assertion that Folks lied.
Haley said Folks' claim is "categorically and totally false."
"I have been 100 percent faithful to my husband throughout our 13 years of marriage," Haley said in a statement. "It is quite simply South Carolina politics at its worst."
Reach Yvonne Wenger at 803-926-7855 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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