June 23, 2010 in Nation/World

South shows shift with primary picks

GOP chooses Haley in South Carolina
Liz Sidoti Associated Press
 

COLUMBIA, S.C. – In a break from the state’s racist legacy, South Carolina Republicans overwhelmingly chose Nikki Haley, an Indian-American woman, to run for governor and easily nominated Tim Scott, in line to become the former Confederate stronghold’s first black GOP congressman in more than a century.

Six-term Republican Rep. Bob Inglis fell to prosecutor Trey Gowdy, making him the fifth House or Senate incumbent to stumble this year.

In North Carolina, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall won the Democratic nomination to challenge GOP Sen. Richard Burr in the fall. Utah Republicans nominated attorney Mike Lee as a successor to vanquished Sen. Bob Bennett in a state that hasn’t elected a Democratic senator in four decades. In Mississippi, voters tapped Republican Bill Marcy to face Rep. Bennie Thompson.

Taken together, the victories by Haley and Scott – both favorites for the general election in November – offered clear signs of racial progress in the South.

Tuesday’s runoffs and primaries played out across four states, the latest cluster of contests to determine matchups for the midterm congressional elections just over four months away. “South Carolina just showed the rest of the country what we’re made of,” Haley said following her victory. “It’s a new day in our state, and I am very blessed to be a part of it.”

With her victory, Haley moved one step closer to becoming the first female governor in the conservative-leaning state. She also secured her place as a rising female star in the GOP, if not potential 2012 vice presidential candidate in the early primary state. She stands as the front-runner in the race against the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen. The disgraced GOP Gov. Mark Sanford is leaving the post because of term limits.


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