Tuesday's runoff election gave South Carolina a real man-bites-dog story -- and no, it's not the fact that Republicans voted for a black man and a woman.
Turns out, the state Chamber of Commerce is supporting Vincent Sheheen over Nikki Haley in the governor's race.
Let that sink in a minute. The biggest business lobby in this state thinks the Democrat would be better for South Carolina business than Sanford 2.0, or whatever Haley is.
Now, that should tip off folks that not all Democrats are anti-capitalism tax fiends, as some Fairly Opinionated Xperts would have you think.
But what's worse, it's a stinging indictment of Haley -- and a reflection of the growing divide in the GOP.
No more Sanford
Earlier this year, the state chamber endorsed Gresham Barrett for the GOP nomination and Sheheen for the Democratic nod. This week Otis Rawl, the chamber chairman, told CNN the Sheheen endorsement will stand for the general election.
"Haley is out there talking about taking on legislators," Rawl said. "We have had eight years of combativeness. We have been at a standstill. We do not believe we need to have four more years ... where the General Assembly and the governor are not working together to create a business-friendly environment."
The business community is usually solidly Republican. But Neal Thigpen, the veteran Francis Marion University political scientist, says it fits with rumblings he's heard.
"In all likelihood, this is because they are wary of her. Sanford was, in a big way, a disruption," Thigpen said. "He wasn't as great for the business people as some think he was."
In other words, the people responsible for economic development don't want another Sanford. Of course, neither did South Carolina voters until Sarah Palin endorsed Haley (and people started alleging various shenanigans).
Get off cable news
The chamber thing also echoes sentiments some Republican lawmakers have expressed privately. More than a couple say they'd rather have Sheheen than Haley.
In part, that is a reflection of Sheheen being moderate and getting along with folks in both parties. But mainly it's because more than a few of Haley's colleagues consider her a climber spouting recycled Sanford dogma -- some of which makes sense, and some of which is kind of off the trail (so to speak).
Does this mean Sheheen is stealthily moving into the lead? Nah. He's still a long shot. But he's no pushover either.
Sheheen hit the trail early Wednesday, proposing -- surprise -- a plan to give state businesses a discount on state contracts and hammering home the message that Haley would be nothing but a third term for Sanford.
If Haley wants to keep him from gaining ground, she can't sit on her lead and run out the clock, as she did in the runoff. She needs to practice some of the transparency she preaches and release all her e-mail, phone and income records. The party doesn't need any October surprise.
In other words, instead of yakking about Arizona immigration law on CNN, she needs to be taking care of business at home.