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Former Gov. Nikki Haley endorses Nancy Mace and will join fundraiser in SC's 1st District

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Election 2020 RNC (copy)

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks during the Republican National Convention from the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. Charleston congressional candidate Nancy Mace received a big-ticket endorsement Wednesday from former Gov. Nikki Haley. File/AP

Charleston congressional candidate Nancy Mace received a big-ticket endorsement Wednesday from former Gov. Nikki Haley. 

The two Republican women will hold a joint appearance and headline a fundraiser prior to the Nov. 3 election as part of the endorsement, Mace campaign spokeswoman Mara Mellstrom said.

Haley's support for Mace gives a boost to the candidate's competitive campaign against Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham. 

"Democrat Congressman Joe Cunningham talks a good game in South Carolina but goes to Washington and votes with Nancy Pelosi," Haley said in a statement.

"That doesn't cut it," she continued. "Nancy Mace will deliver on her promises, and that includes standing up for taxpayers and representing our values. That's the kind of strong leadership we need in D.C."

Haley's political profile is at an all-time high following her speech at the Republican National Convention last month and increasing speculation that she will be a Republican presidential candidate in 2024. 

In May, Haley changed her voting address in advance of the May 9 cutoff date from her old home in Lexington County to her new residence on Kiawah Island, making her eligible to vote in the 1st District.

However, she opted to stay publicly neutral in the June GOP primary.

Mace won the primary battle against three other hopefuls convincingly, with 57 percent of the vote.

The Post and Courier reported in July that Haley, the former U.N. ambassador for President Donald Trump, planned to back Mace in November as the GOP nominee.

Mace said Wednesday she was honored to have Haley's endorsement. 

"Thank you, Ambassador Nikki Haley, for your trust in me to restore truly independent, fresh and bold leadership for SC’s 1st District in Congress," Mace said in a statement.

Haley's endorsement comes a month after Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, headlined an event for Mace in Charleston.

After Pence put her support behind the congressional candidate, she admitted it would be a competitive race that would "come down to the wire.”

The vice president and President Donald Trump have also backed Mace. 

Cunningham currently leads Mace in campaign cash. According to the latest quarterly federal fundraising reports, Cunningham has raised more than $3 million — surpassing his Republican challenger.

His 2018 win in Charleston’s 1st District moved the seat to the Democrats after being in GOP hands for four decades.

Reach Thomas Novelly at 843-937-5713. Follow him @TomNovelly on Twitter. 

Thomas Novelly is a political reporter based in Charleston. He also covers the military community and veterans throughout South Carolina. Previously, he wrote for the Courier Journal in Kentucky. He is a fan of Southern rock, bourbon and horse racing.

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