Jenny Sanford, the wife of embattled S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford, has endorsed Republican state Rep. Nikki Haley in the race to replace her term-limited husband in 2010, The State newspaper of Columbia reports today.
The state's first lady made the announcement in a fundraising letter to Haley’s supporters that was released by his campaign. (Read the letter here.)
Sanford, who helped manage her husband’s campaigns for Congress and governor, said Haley stands out in the five-candidate Republican field mainly for her history of fiscal conservatism and her advocacy of government restructuring, The State reports.
“When I’m asked my wish for South Carolina’s future, my wish is for a leader of state government like Nikki Haley. She’s principled, conservative, tough and smart,” Sanford writes. “I am strongly supporting Nikki Haley for governor, and I hope you will, too.”
The first lady, who moved out of the governor’s mansion in August after it was revealed in June that her husband had been having an affair with a woman in Argentina, alludes to the affair in her letter.
“We all know this past year has been very difficult for our state on many levels," she writes. "It’s been hard for me and my family, too. But our family is resilient, and we will be fine. And the people of our state are resilient, too. I have no doubt South Carolina will get back on its feet.”
Haley, a 37-year-old hospital executive, is battling four other Republicans for the GOP nomination. U.S. Sen. Gresham Barrett of Oconee, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer of Greenville, Berkeley state Sen. Larry Grooms and S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster are also seeking the nomination.