South Carolina state representative Nikki Haley found herself embroiled in a sex scandal just two weeks before the South Carolina Republican Primary when she got to work Monday morning. Â Will Folks, in his blog, “FITSNews,” admitted to an “inappropriate physical relationship with Nikki,” noting that he was trying to get ahead of several “leaking” stories that were supposed to out the affair. Â Nikki Haley immediately issued a statement on her website categorically denying the “disgraceful smear.” Â But is it truly a smear?
Ben Smith at Politico.com revealed that Will Folks was on Nikki Haley’s payroll in 2008. Â Will Folks had also come out in favor of Nikki Haley in the gubernatorial campaign. Â So why post a story sure to bog Nikki Haley in scandal just as she is headed into the home stretch of the Republican Primary? Â He’s a married man. Â She’s a married woman. Â What could be gained?
To make matters worse, Nikki Haley, according to a recent Rasmussen Poll, has the lead among the field of four conservative candidates vying for the Republican slot on November’s ballot. Â In fact, she holds an 11-point lead over her nearest competitor.
Nikki Haley maintains that that is why the “smear” appeared at this time. Â But she insists that the allegations are “outrageous and false” and she will continue her campaign unabated and without distraction.
But something seems amiss… Why would a blogger, a fellow conservative, who has endorsed a candidate for governor suddenly derail her gubernatorial train? Â Why ignite a sex scandal when she is the frontrunner? Â Why claim to have had sex with Nikki Haley if it is a lie, especially when you’re a married man (although Will Folks does say that the affair occurred before he was married)? Â Apparently Will Folks’ sources that informed him of the forthcoming revelations were credible enough for him to try to get ahead of them. Â Not that his confession does Nikki Haley any good…
And her denial of the affair is completely understandable. Â She’s a Republican. Â A conservative. Â A “family values” candidate. Â She’s running for governor in a conservative state. Â She could lose everything she has worked for because of this alleged extramarital sexual relationship.
But logic keeps coming back to the why of it. Â What would make Will Folks divulge the information when his candidate is so close to getting the Republican nod? Â Could it be that Folks is thinking long-term: Â Get the scandal out of the way, perhaps derailing Nikki Haley’s gubernatorial chances but allowing a strong Republican candidate to win the Primary? Â Better to see Haley defeated in the Primary than to see the affair allegations surface after she is named the Republican candidate, erupting in a scandal that could possibly end with a Democatic candidate elected governor?
Or could it be that Will Folks lied in his blog? Â Could it be that he never had a sexual relationship with Nikki Haley at all? Â Could there be something personal going on (not that a sexual relationship with Nikki Haley wouldn’t be personal) that prompted Folks to confess to the alleged affair? Â Something not political?
If something does present in the next few weeks that puts Haley and Folks together in a past “inappropriate physical relationship,” Nikki Haley will have far more to worry about than her South Carolina political career.