Republican Nikki Haley Wins Race For South Carolina Governor

Douglas Graham

Republican Nikki Haley has won the South Carolina gubernatorial race against Democrat Vincent Sheheen.

With 78 percent of precincts reporting, Haley leads by a margin of 52-47, with MSNBC and Fox calling the race.[TPM SLIDESHOW: Stranger Than Fiction? TPM Casts The 2010 Midterm Elections]

Haley had enjoyed a significant lead over Sheheen since she won the runoff Republican primary on June 22 (Sheheen won his primary June 8). And though in recent weeks Sheheen seemed to be closing the gap, in the end it was not enough to overtake Haley.

Haley’s campaign did face some hiccups though — back in May, during the primary, blogger Will Folks alleged that he had “an inappropriate physical relationship” with Haley for years.

But in a Republican-leaning state where Gov. Mark Sanford’s (R) sex scandal led to its own euphemism (“hiking the Appalachian trail”), Haley’s scandal just didn’t do enough damage to prevent her from winning.

Late Update: Watch Haley’s victory speech here.