South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to face Vincent Sheheen in re-election

Defeated Sheheen narrowly in 2010 polls.

By Deepak Chitnis

WASHINGTON, DC: South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has officially filed for re-election in the November 2014 elections.

Nikki HaleyHaley, a Republican, submitted the paperwork on Tuesday, kicking off her bid to win a second term. A controversial leader since taking office in 2011, Haley will once again square off against Democratic State Senator Vincent Sheheen, who she narrowly defeated in the previous election.

One of the biggest points of contention between the two candidates is the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans will likely seize upon throughout election season as an example of gross incompetence by the Democrats. Haley has been vocal in her derision of Obamacare, while Sheheen has supported the legislation unequivocally.

Haley, just 42, is the youngest active governor in the US. She is the state’s first female governor, and the first female governor in any state of Indian heritage. Born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa in South Carolina, to Sikh parents, Haley converted to Methodist later in life. She is married, with two children, and has been a lightning rod for controversy in both her personal and professional lives.

She has faced heavy criticism, throughout her time as governor, for not being able to reduce the state’s unemployment rate by as much as she promised during her campaign. Additionally, she has been the subject of several allegations of adultery, with reports circulating a few years ago that she regularly cheated on her husband. Haley has denied the allegations repeatedly.

Right now, preliminary reports indicate that Haley has the upper hand, albeit slightly. Although she is the incumbent, and has more than twice the amount of money that Sheheen does  – $3.7 million for Haley, against Sheheen’s $1.4 million – the fact that Haley won the 2010 election by a margin of only 51%-47% has several pundits thinking Sheheen could pull off the upset.

For her part, Haley is gearing up to launch an extensive TV ad campaign to drum up early support. Her campaign will focus on many of the things her 2010 run and subsequent governorship has made a priority. Namely, strengthening the state’s economy by supporting small businesses, and improving the quality of education throughout the state, particularly in its poorer regions.

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