WASHINGTON (AP) - South Carolina Republicans nominated a tea
party-backed Indian-American woman to run for governor and a
conservative black man to run for Congress from the former
Confederate state. Another incumbent congressman lost. So did a
Senate hopeful chosen by Washington Democrats.
Themes of the November midterm elections popped up in the
handful of primaries and runoffs held Tuesday in four states, the
latest cluster of contests to determine matchups for the midterm
congressional elections just over four months away.
It's shaping up to be an anti-establishment year, with angry
voters casting ballots against candidates with ties to Washington
and the national political parties.
Perhaps no other contest illustrated that better than GOP state
Rep. Nikki Haley's race for governor.
A state legislator with the backing of tea party activists and
Sarah Palin, the Indian-American woman overtook the state's old-boy
network by beating Rep. Gresham Barrett, a four-term congressman.
With her victory, she moved one step closer to becoming the
first female governor in conservative South Carolina; she stands as
the front-runner in the race against the Democratic gubernatorial
nominee, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen. She also secured her place as
a rising female star in the GOP, if not a potential 2012 vice
presidential candidate in the early primary state.
"South Carolina just showed the rest of the country what we're
made of," Haley said following her victory. "It's a new day in
our state, and I am very blessed to be a part of it."
The disgraced GOP Gov. Mark Sanford is leaving the post because
of term limits.
Haley, 38, brushed aside allegations of marital infidelity and
an ethnic slur to come within a percentage point of winning the
gubernatorial nod outright on June 8. She won 65 percent of the
vote to 35 percent for Barrett, who has had to answer for his 2008
vote for the unpopular Wall Street bailout.
South Carolina Republicans also nominated Tim Scott, putting him
in line to become the state's first black GOP congressman in more
than a century.
Scott, 44, also a state lawmaker, beat Paul Thurmond, the son of
the late U.S. senator and former segregationist Strom Thurmond, in
the runoff after securing the backing of Palin, the anti-tax Club
for Growth and several Republican leaders in Washington. With all
precincts counted, he had 68 percent of the vote to 32 percent for
The GOP-leaning 1st Congressional District stretches down the
Carolina coast and includes Fort Sumter, where the first shots of
the Civil War were fired. If elected to the House, Scott would be
the GOP's first black lawmaker since Oklahoma's J.C. Watts retired
Scott will face Democrat Ben Frasier, who also is black, in
November, and is strongly favored to win; the district, which is 72
percent white, has sent a Republican to Congress for three decades.
Rep. Henry Brown is retiring.
Also in South Carolina, six-term Republican Rep. Bob Inglis fell
to prosecutor Trey Gowdy in the 4th Congressional District, making
him the fifth House or Senate incumbent to stumble this year.
Spartanburg prosecutor Gowdy forced Inglis into a runoff after
making the race a referendum on the incumbent's bailout vote and
casting him as not conservative enough for the district.
In North Carolina, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall won the
Democratic nomination to challenge GOP Sen. Richard Burr in the
She beat former Army prosecutor Cal Cunningham, a blow to
Democratic Party leaders in Washington who recruited him and spent
more than $100,000 to boost his campaign. Despite holding statewide
office for more than a decade, Marshall portrayed herself as an
outsider while claiming she was an advocate for average citizens
and a fighter against powerful industries.
Utah Republicans chose attorney Mike Lee as a successor to
vanquished Sen. Bob Bennett in a state that hasn't elected a
Democratic senator in four decades. Lee defeated businessman Tim
Bridgewater to win the GOP Senate nomination.
Bennett lost his bid last month for a fourth term. Conservatives
at the GOP state convention punished him for his support of the
In Mississippi, voters chose Republican Bill Marcy to challenge
Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson.