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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."
  • Here's a Perverse Notion, writes Allahpundit at Hot Air: "At this point I half-hope that all these charges against her are true, just because that’d actually be less depressing than the thought of this many lying scumbags running around South Carolina smearing innocent people."

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