Friday, May 15, 2009
Barrett,Haley and Grooms
No, VUI is not writing about some law firm. Congressman Gresham Barrett, Rep. Nikki Haley and State Senator Larry Grooms are all announced candidates for Governor that seem to fall within the category of being an heir to Mark Sanford.
Congressman Gresham Barrett has to be wondering what is going on. Barrett hauled in some big money, including money from those tied to the Sanford crowd. Despite his money, Barrett has failed to gain the traction to reflect the money rose. Perhaps that is why the Sanford crowd has Nikki Haley and Larry Grooms in the Governor’s race. Rumors have state senator Tom Davis of Beaufort, a former chief of staff under Sanford, considering the race as well.
There are several possibilities as to why Barrett is no longer the darling of the Sanford movement. First, his flip flop on the government bailout money has not played well to the Republican base. As such, the big money behind the Sanford movement could be placing their bets on another candidate in the race. Second, Barrett’s surprising weakness could have caused the financial backers of the Sanford movement to reach deep into their pockets and finance several candidates, in hopes that at least one makes the GOP primary runoff. Then, there is the possibility that Barrett insisted on being his own man, so to speak. The people who finance the Sanford movement do not tolerate that.
One thing is for sure, the conventional wisdom among some just a few months ago, including the sources of VUI, is shot. The notion that Barrett was the Sanford crowd’s guy, McMaster was the Quinn guy and Bauer was the Shealy guy is now invalid.
If fielding several candidates for Governor is what the Sanford crowd is up to, it is a high stakes gamble. It could either divide those who favor Sanford and result in two candidates in a runoff without Sanford ties or it could deliver two candidates with Sanford ties in the runoff. But, do not for a minute think that Nikki Haley and Larry Grooms got up one morning and said to themselves, “hey, I think I can be Governor,” without knowing they were going to get the money to do it.