“Our Nikki” Navigating Turbulent Waters

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has been back in the national news thanks to her power to appoint a temporary successor to the conservative movement’s Grand Poohbah, Sen. Jim DeMint. This came on the heels of her largely undeserved inclusion earlier this year on every list of potential running-mates for Mitt Romney.

But truth is, the woman that Sarah Palin described to South Carolinians as “Your Nikki” is not in terribly good shape in her own state as she looks forward to a probable re-election run in 2014. A recent Progressive Policy Polling survey of SC shows Haley with a pallid 42/49 approval/disapproval rating, and also trailing 2010 opponent Vincent Sheheen in a hypothetical rematch. Given Haley’s often-stormy relationship with legislative leaders from her own party, and bipartisan perceptions that she’s self-involved to an unhealthy extent, Democrats in the Palmetto State are licking their chops at the prospect of her again leading the GOP ticket.

You’d better believe her own prospects in 2014 will have a big effect on what she does with the DeMint replacement. Whoever gets it better bring some significant support for Haley to the table.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.