COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley finally made it official Monday that she is running for re-election next year.
Haley will kick off her re-election bid Aug. 26 during a fundraiser in Greenville with three other Republican governors, campaign spokesman Rob Godfrey said.
The announcement sets up a likely rematch of the 2010 governor’s race, when Haley got 51 percent of the vote and beat Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen of Camden, who received 47 percent. Currently, both candidates are the only ones seeking their party’s nominations.
The focus of Haley’s campaign is already evident through her official events. She will tout the generally declining unemployment rate during her term and the 36,000 new jobs her office has announced since she took office in 2011. Haley has also started reminding people she signed a bill that could raise up to $1 billion of additional money for the state’s roads through a combination of borrowing, extra revenue and money diverted from other sources.
“With the fastest growing economy on the east coast, and the unemployment rate hitting a five year low, South Carolina is moving fast in the right direction, but it’s never fast enough for Nikki,” Godfrey said. “She wants to make sure our state continues on the right path, and doesn’t take a turn toward bigger government, higher taxes, and Obamacare.”
Sheheen is already on the campaign trail. He is talking about how Haley’s leadership has failed South Carolina, pointing out the agency leaders the governor picked or approved have seen state tax data stolen by hackers and a community angered by the response to a tuberculosis outbreak at a Greenwood County school. Sheheen is saying Haley ignored education and isn’t doing enough to fix the state’s crumbling highways and bridges.
“Nikki Haley has been an utter failure for South Carolina, its people and its businesses. Her administration has repeatedly shown a pattern of secrecy and culture of incompetence that has made South Carolina one of the hardest places to make a living and achieve the American dream,” Sheheen’s campaign manager Andrew Whalen said.
Haley’s campaign event later this month will include Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. The three out-of-state governors get to mingle with donors and potential early voters in the 2016 presidential primary, while Haley gets to raise money.
According to an invitation to the event, the cost starts at $1,000 per couple. For $3,500 per couple, attendees can arrive 30 minutes earlier and get photos taken with the governors.
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott will host the event. Scott also faces re-election in 2014 after Haley appointed him to take over for U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint when he stepped down in January.