Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s crushing defeat in the South Carolina primary comes as a major setback for the state’s Indian-American Governor Nilkki Haley,who not only endorsed him but also extensively campaigned for him.
Notably Haley had won the South Carolina gubernatorial election with an impressive margin only a year ago,and her candidate not winning the Republican primary is an indication that her popularity is fast slipping away,which was also reflected in recent opinion polls.
Only the second Indian-American after Bobby Jindal of Louisiana to be elected as Governor of an American state,she was praised by Romney when he delivered his post-election speech and conceded his defeat.
“Governor Nikki Haley has been fabulous and I owe her so very much for her help,” Romney said,conceding her relentless effort in the campaign.
Romney’s opponent Newt Gingrich,who won the primary with a decisive margin,was endorsed by the Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives and the House Majority Leader.
Immediately after Romney,former Massachusetts Governor,was defeated,a disappointed Haley said she would continue to campaign for him and would travel to other States in his favour. Romney is still the best candidate to defeat President Barack Obama in the November elections,she claimed.
According to Huffington Post,Haley,who won the South Carolina gubernatorial elections last year because of the support from Tea Party activists,shocked her base by endorsing Romney.
“Exit poll data showed that Tea Party supporters overwhelmingly supported Gingrich in Saturday’s primary,” it said.
“Haley isn’t getting the kind of strong support she did when she was elected,and Tea Party supporters couldn’t have been more shocked with her choice to back Romney,a decision she announced on Fox News last month,” the popular National Public Radio said.
“It’s disappointing to a lot of people in this state,” Talbert Black,a libertarian who worked for Haley’s gubernatorial campaign but now doesn’t speak to her,was quoted as saying.
“She could have picked anybody,and at least had some of her base say,’Yeah,that was a good pick.’ Except Romney. I haven’t heard anybody say that was a great pick for her,” Black said.
Born to Sikh parents who migrated to the US from India,Nimrata ‘Nikki’ Randhawa Haley created history last January when she became the first woman to serve as governor of South Carolina. She is also the first Indian-American to hold office in the State.