The Buzz

August 25, 2014

FIRST ON BUZZ: Gov. Nikki Haley campaign launches anti-bullying ad

Gov. Nikki Haley’s latest re-election advertisement was inspired by a 2011 letter that she received at the Governor’s Mansion from a Pendleton 8th-grader fed up with being bullied.

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to thebuzz@thestate.com.

Gov. Nikki Haley’s latest re-election advertisement was inspired by a 2011 letter that she received at the Governor’s Mansion from a Pendleton 8th-grader fed up with being bullied.

Haley called Amanda Crawford after receiving the letter and told the teen she should return to school with her head held high. Amanda says in the ad the governor told her that she “had her back.”

The Haley campaign is releasing a 30-second version of the television ad statewide Tuesday in a “six-figure buy,” spokesman Rob Godfrey said. A two-minute version will run online in a separate six-figure buy, he said.

This is the fourth ad from Haley’s re-election campaign, touting how the first-term governor “makes a difference.”

None of Haley’s ads has taken aim at her Democratic opponent, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen. Instead, ads paid for by the Republican Governor’s Association have criticized some of Sheheen’s legal work as a Camden attorney.

Haley says that she too was bullied in the longer version of the latest ad.

In her 2012 memoir, “Can’t Is Not An Option,” the governor describes instances of discrimination and intimidation that she experienced because she is the daughter of Indian immigrants. As a state representative from Lexington, Haley co-sponsored a law, passed in 2006, that broadened the definition of school bullying and required school districts to create plans for handling the issue.

In the new ad, Haley says she started visiting schools with an anti-bullying message as governor after receiving a “suicide letter” from Amanda.

“I have the Lord on my side, but I feel like I’m caving in,” Amanda wrote in a copy of the letter provided by the campaign. “I thought at one time ... the way I was feeling was ... the way people felt before they killed (themselves). I was so hopeless and confused. I wish this would stop.”

Amanda, who appears in the ads with her mother, says she wrote the letter because, “I just wanted to someone to help me, and I actually wanted to know someone cared.”

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