SC Chamber won’t endorse Haley for governor

Holly Bailey

Republican Nikki Haley has a double-digit lead in her bid to become South Carolina’s first female governor, but a prominent state business group won’t endorse her because its leaders think she won’t get along with the state’s GOP-led legislature.

The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce is sticking with its endorsement of Democrat Vincent Sheheen, whom the group endorsed in the Democratic gubernatorial primary this spring. In the GOP primary, the group backed Haley’s rival, Gresham Barrett. As the Associated Press’s Jim Davenport reports, the group declined to rethink its endorsements this week, specifically citing Haley’s threat to campaign against lawmakers who don’t support legislative reforms. That posture, the chamber argues, will thwart the kinds of bipartisan compromise needed to move legislation forward in the state.

“I just don’t think that’s going to bring the type of cooperation that we need,” Otis Rawl, the chamber’s CEO, tells AP. “That’s a slippery slope when you’re talking about getting things done.” But not everybody in the group agrees, and some members, according to AP, resigned their membership in protest.

Haley, for her part, doesn’t seem too fazed by the slam. A spokesman for her campaign trashed the chamber as a “big fan of bailouts and corporate welfare.”