UPDATE: Nikki Haley wins going away.

Perhaps a little under the radar, the South Carolina Republican primary runoff takes place June 22. Nikki Haley appears poised to defeat Gresham Barrett for governor, maintaining her lead from the primaries. Haley defeated Barrett and other GOP candidates in the South Carolina primaries but failed to garner the 50% needed to avoid a runoff. She didn’t miss by much, winning with a little over 49%.

nikki haley

The South Carolina governor’s race has been one of mudslinging, scandals, and reported scandals that never materialized. Haley was bringing up the rear in a crowded field of GOP candidates until getting the endorsement of Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney.

Palin’s endorsement vaulted her over her opponents and she won the primaries by a pretty healthy margin. She came in with 49% of the vote, Gresham Barrett was a distant second with 22%; still state law required that there be a runoff since neither gained 50%.

Soon after the Palin endorsement and her assent to the top of the polls, accusations of an extramarital affair were levied at Nikki Haley who denied the accusation and no proof was ever produced. Then comes name calling by some and more charges by Barrett that Haley failed to report thousands of dollars in consulting fees. Barrett claims that Nikki Haley has a transparency problem.

As the SC primary runoff elections wind down, it appears that opponents of Nikki Haley are trying to get ahead of the “Palin effect.” She’s bright, attractive, and very conservative. This is exactly what establishment republicans and liberals don’t want on the national scene.

What does it mean on a national scale if Nikki Haley wins the SC republican nomination for governor? Does it prove Sarah Palin’s still got it? Does it prove that grass roots candidates are going to be a force in November? Does it mean that 2010 will be the year of the republican woman? I think all of the above. This will serve as our SC republican primary runoff thread.