Congressman Gresham Barrett is making a surge in recent poling numbers that makes him perhaps the GOP contender to take on Nikki Haley in the runoff.
In polling numbers leaked to VUI at this late hour, Haley is at 40%, Barrett is at 26%, McMaster is at 16% and Bauer is at 9%. That leaves only 9% undecided, which is low for the race so far. Frankly put, Republican voters are making up their minds.
What is surprising is the weakness of Henry McMaster in the polls. McMaster entered the race the favorite. Just a year ago, McMaster enjoyed a big lead in the polls. To his credit, if McMaster is going out, he is going out talking well about South Carolina. McMaster's ads are the most positive about South Carolina and its people by far. But, it seems that tone is not connecting with GOP voters.
Instead the voters seem concerned more about the he said she said aspect of the Haley campaign. They seem to rallying to a woman charged with marital transgressions. As stated before on this blog, Haley's throwback campaign of of "look what they are doing to me because of what I want to do for you" is working as it did decades of go for Long brothers in Louisiana. It also is akin to the Sanford primary campaign in 2002, when a mail out hitting Sanford came from mysterious sources that were assumed to be linked to Sanford's opponents. It is interesting to note that both Haley and Sanford had the the same people running their operations and that both campaigns benefited from outlandish charges that were supposedly lobbed by their opponents. Eight years ago, direct mail was the vehicle, in today's high tech world, it seems that the internet is.
That said, Barrett continues to rise. After some rather ineffective ads, Barrett's campaign seems to be back to where it was a few months ago when Barrett took a debate and looked like a Governor. As such, Barrett seems to be poised to get into the runoff.
The question is, can Barrett take the runoff if he gets there? While there are professionals around Barrett who get paid well to make such decisions, VUI contends the only way Barret can win is if he does not attack Haley. Like Sanford before her, Haley wants the attacks. She will play the victim. Should Barrett make the runoff, Barrett needs to keep up what is doing, talking about jobs and how he can lead South Carolina to a better day. One moment spent on attacking Haley will lead to lost votes.
Indeed, when one looks at Nikki Haley's policies beyond holding on the record votes, her policies are pretty nutty. Closing colleges and state parks are something she embraces, for example. But, since she is a woman maligned, a candidate can not attack her for her nuttiness.
Further, Nikki Haley is the darling of the Tea Party folks. While those Tea Party folks are well meaning, it is hard to get why they are angry at this or that politician. Most of them are upset about health care costs. We all are. But, when you look at reality, both hard right conservatives and liberal democrats worked to create the system that makes an aspirin in a hospital $50. Obama's plan will not fix that for sure. But, frankly, those running as "Tea Party" candidates will not fix it either. Just look at who gives them their money, including Nikki Haley. Who knows who will offer real reform to health care? But, one thing is for sure it will not come from a candidate backed by the insurance companies.
Indeed, where was Nikki Haley when it became clear that Sanford's appointee to the Department of Social Services failed? Where was Nikki Haley when it became clear that Sanford's Secretary of Transportation worked to give no bid contracts to his son's company? Where was Nikki Haley when Governor Sanford abandoned the state?
VUI can state the above, but Barrett can not. Haley has been elevated to be above attacks and questions. She is Sanford all over again, and the people around her have did as well as they did for Sanford. The mainstream media, either lazy, or afraid of losing ad money from big business, stays silent. Barrett is in an uphill fight. The truth about Nikki Haley must come out, but Barrett cannot tell it.