In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Is The GOP's SC-GOV Primary The Sleaziest Race Of The Year?


In the run-up to the first round primary, Haley countered the allegations with an ad that featured her standing alongside her husband, Michael Haley. "I've seen the dark side of our state's politics," Nikki Haley proclaimed in the ad.

Then, shortly before the primary, GOP state Sen. Jake Knotts kicked it up a notch, by calling Haley, who is of Indian Sikh background but has converted to Christianity, a "f---ing raghead" who was supposedly hiding her religion. "We got a raghead in Washington; we don't need one in South Carolina," said Knotts, who was supporting André Bauer. "She's a raghead that's ashamed of her religion trying to hide it behind being Methodist for political reasons."

All in all, the allegations didn't hurt Haley -- in a four-way primary, she came in first place with a whopping 49% of the vote, just shy of the 50% needed to avoid a runoff. She is heavily favored to win against Barrett, who came in a distant second with 22%.

Still, that hasn't stopped the whispering campaigns against Haley. An email circulated by Pickens County GOP chairman Phillip Bowers, a Barrett supporter, kept up the accusation that Haley is not really a Christian -- albeit in more delicate phrasing than Knotts used. "Haley can't seem to make up her mind about her faith," Bowers wrote in the e-mail, which was provided to CNN by a Haley supporter. "There are lots of contradictions to her story. It's not my place to question her faith, but I do question her honesty. If anyone finds the truth, please let me know."

Bowers added: "Again, I'm not questioning her faith, but I absolutely can't stand a liar."