Three Republican governors with presidential ambitions will be in South Carolina later this month to raise money for GOP Gov. Nikki Haley’s re-election bid.
Govs. Rick Perry of Texas, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana will headline a $1,000-a-couple fundraiser at Greenville developer Bob Hughes’ home on Aug. 26, according to Tim Pearson, Haley’s political adviser.
“Having Govs. Jindal, Perry, and Walker – all who have overseen incredible economic growth and done so much good for their respective states – come in to support Gov. Haley is a huge boon for us,” Pearson said. “It’s a great reflection of the job Gov. Haley has done and shows that the results she has delivered for South Carolina are truly resonating.”
Haley, Perry and Jindal are speaking at a “RedState” gathering of Republicans this weekend in New Orleans.
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U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who also interested in the White House, is making his third trip to South Carolina on the same day as the Haley fundraiser. Paul and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-North Charleston, will attend a fundraiser in Anderson held by U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens.
The Greenville fundraiser will be Perry’s first trip to South Carolina since he dropped out of the 2012 presidential race after a disastrous showing in several debates. Last month, Perry announced he would not seek re-election but left open the possibility of another run for the White House in 2016.
Perry has returned to the national stage in recent weeks, pushing for controversial state legislation that would restrict abortions, a move that endeared him to some social conservative voters, key in South Carolina.
Walker made a name for himself by going after public-sector unions in Wisconsin, a decision that angered enough voters in that state to prompt a recall election. Walker won that election, and Haley – who has been vocal in her opposition to unions – campaigned for Walker in Wisconsin.
Jindal and Haley are the only two Indian-American governors in the country. In 2011, Haley hired Tony Keck – Jindal’s former health and social services policy adviser – to lead South Carolina’s Medicaid program.
Hughes is responsible for much of the new development in downtown Greenville. His next project is to redevelop 181 acres on Bull Street in Columbia, site of the old State Hospital campus.
Haley has not officially announced her candidacy for re-election. But she has hired campaign staff and has more than $2 million in her campaign account.
Her likely Democratic opponent is state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw, who raised slightly more money than Haley in the most recent fundraising quarter.
The S.C. Democratic Party issued a news release Thursday criticizing Haley for South Carolina’s unemployment rate, which is higher than the national average. The state’s high jobless number is why Haley’s “poll numbers are stuck in the low-40s,” the Democrats said (The latest Winthrop University poll found Haley’s approval rating at 44.8 percent among S.C. registered voters.)
“It’s no wonder Nikki Haley has to bring other states’ more-popular governors into South Carolina (and to the Upstate in particular) to try and raise money on their coattails,” Kristin Sosanie, a Democratic party spokeswoman, wrote in the news release.