Just when we thought South Carolina politics couldn't get any more salacious, a second man has claimed to have a sexual encounter with Nikki Haley, the married Republican front-runner for South Carolina's governor's race. This time it's a political consultant named Larry Merchant who worked for Haley's primary opponent, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer. At this point, his allegation is just as puzzling as Will Folks's claim: neither can be verified. Feeling somewhat defeated, pundits are decrying instead the state of South Carolina politics. But first, Nikki Haley addresses the most recent allegations:
- Even For South Carolina This Is Bad, writes Robert Stacey McCain at The American Spectator: "Republican politics in South Carolina has been a rough sport since the era of the legendary Lee Atwater, but the dirty games have descended to a new low in the past 10 days.
- A Despicable Smear Campaign, writes Erick Erickson at Redstate: "Andre Bauer’s entire campaign strategy — ignore the issues, ignore the experience, and go straight to calling Nikki Haley a whore. I really and truly hope South Carolina voters will not reward the man for something so disgusting."
- The View from the Left Ed Kilgore at The Democratic Strategist writes: "It's more likely [Marchant] was fired for shopping the story around. And though all I have to go by here is a Twitter feed, it appears Haley accused Bauer at a candidate debate tonight of shopping the story and then firing Marchant when nobody bought it. If this can all get more byzantine, I'm sure it will."