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Why Nikki Haley Has So Few Friends Left in South Carolina Politics

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at a rally on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

Nikki Haley, once a prominent figure in South Carolina politics with aspirations for the presidency, is now facing a tough battle to garner support in her home state. Despite her rapid rise, she’s finding herself without the backing of key allies who once stood by her.

Former Lieutenant Governor Henry McMaster and Congressman Tim Scott, whom Haley endorsed for Senate, have both thrown their weight behind Donald Trump. Even Nancy Mace, who received Haley’s support in her own political journey, has aligned herself with Trump, despite previously criticizing him.

Critics argue that Haley’s downfall stems from her failure to cultivate relationships and show appreciation to those who supported her. While Haley attributes the backlash to jealousy and sexism, many in South Carolina feel she neglected the state’s tradition of building alliances.

During her time as governor, Haley shook up the political scene by challenging the status quo and advocating for transparency. However, her no-nonsense approach and outsider demeanor may have rubbed some political insiders the wrong way.

Despite her efforts to portray herself as an outsider fighting against entrenched politics, Haley faces an uphill battle in her presidential ambitions. Recent polls show Trump with a considerable lead over her in South Carolina, a state he won convincingly in previous elections.

Supporters argue that Haley’s unconventional style and willingness to challenge norms are her strengths. However, critics highlight instances where Haley allegedly distanced herself from those who helped her, like Mark Sanford, the former governor whom she reportedly snubbed after he backed her campaign.

As Haley navigates the complexities of South Carolina politics, she must contend with a landscape where loyalty to Trump often takes precedence over personal connections. Despite her past achievements, Haley’s path to the presidency appears to be fraught with challenges.

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