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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Some in Tea Party cite ‘buyer’s remorse’ with South Carolina Governor

Republicans, beware. None of you are guaranteed another term in office. - Reggie

Talbert Black, state coordinator of the S.C. Campaign for Liberty, worked hard to get his Lexington County state representative, Nikki Haley, elected governor in 2010, blasting out emails and making phone calls to galvanize Tea Party-minded voters.

“She was going to fight the establishment, shrink the size of government and fight the good ol’ boy,” Black said Friday of Haley. “Instead, she got elected and became part of the system.”

Black is part of a faction of the state’s Tea Party movement that says Haley, who they helped elect, has broken faith with them. Many now hope she will be a one-term governor.

For Haley, never a favorite of the state’s GOP establishment, losing Tea Party support could be devastating.

Despite internal rifts among the state’s Tea Party groups, they still have clout. In the January Republican presidential primary, Tea Partiers rallied behind U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, helping him win a crushing victory over Republican establishment candidate Mitt Romney.

S.C. Republicans approve of Tea Partiers, too.

While 83 percent of self-identified S.C. Republicans said in December that they did not consider themselves members of the Tea Party, 61 percent said they approved of the movement, according to a Winthrop University poll.

“She’s done so much that is negative that it’s going to be very difficult for her to change our opinions and prove she’s in it for the good of the state vs. her personal gain,” Black said. “That’s what I think now. She’s in it for herself, for some plan for her future — whatever that may be.”

Haley, campaigning Friday for Romney in Pennsylvania, was not available to discuss her Tea Party support. But her spokesman, Rob Godfrey, said in an email that a handful of disaffected Tea Partiers, including Black, do not speak for the movement.

“The governor appreciates her Tea Party supporters across the state,” Godfrey wrote. “What she has always loved about the Tea Party is that they’re not a party at all — they’re Republicans, Democrats and independents — who think for themselves and speak for themselves. No one or two people speak for the Tea Party.

“The governor remains focused on issues the Tea Party has always championed: reigning in government spending, teaching government the value of a dollar and reminding elected officials they work for the people, and not the other way around.”

‘She started caving in’

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