In a state where youre not from around here can be both an inquiry and an accusation, Republican Nikki Haley connected with S.C. voters through biography and policies to overcome history and become the states first woman and first minority governor.
Haley edged Kershaw Democrat Vincent Sheheen in a race that became tense and tight toward the end, as Sheheen sought to make the race a referendum on character.
"Ideas win," said Jenny Sanford, the states former first lady who provided the once underdog candidate Haley with a key endorsement. "There is only so far you can go if you rip somebody up. At the end of the day your own campaign has to be about something."
Voters found a lot to like in Haley, which proved insurmountable for Democratic opponent Vincent Sheheen when coupled with a national political climate favoring Republicans.
Haleys pledges to rein in state spending, reject federal assistance and fight to the U.S. Supreme Court a recently enacted health-care law appealed to many. In addition, Haley was a disciplined, natural candidate who could connect in person and in advertising.