It says a good deal about Nikki Haley that even one of Mark Sanford’s closest allies is joining, however tentatively, the Greek chorus of Republicans concerned about her candidacy.
I thought it was remarkable enough that Chip Campsen’s sister would lead a dissident group of mainstream Republicans in challenging the Haley insurgency. Republicans don’t do that, not after the primary is over.
But now, Sen. Campsen himself is showing up in a news story about his sister’s group, as I learned from the Republicans for Sheheen Facebook page:
Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Isle of Palms, last week acknowledged that the questions surrounding Haley could have consequences.
“I’ve been on the sidelines,” he said. “Party loyalty is subordinate to principle loyalty. It’s important to commit to the principles the institution stands for more than the institution. If this stuff is true (about Haley), then there are certain principles in the party that are at stake. I’m not saying it is true, but if it is, my party loyalty would not override my commitment to principle.”
Campsen is Mosteller’s brother and a former senior policy adviser to Gov. Mark Sanford. Campsen has not disclosed publicly what he thinks about Mosteller’s efforts.
No, he’s not going to come out for Vincent Sheheen, any more than Bobby Harrell will openly do so in his tortured missives aimed at debunking what Nikki and her supporters say.
But folks, this is about as close as Republican officeholders, from the Harrell variety to the Sanford wing, are likely to come to screaming “Don’t vote for this woman!”
This is probably still too subtle for the people likely to consider voting for her. But to people who know the score, the message is clear.
Meanwhile, sister Cyndi — who was an acknowledged power in GOP circles before her brother was — is claiming her group has grown to 100, “including former Charleston County Republican Party Chairman Samm McConnell and Chairwoman Linda Butler Johnson.”
Chip Campsen wanted to run for governor… and wanted Sanford’s support… and I’m pretty sure Nikki got in his way…