Spurred by out-of-state contributions, Republican Gov. Nikki Haley raised more money in her second victory over Democrat Vincent Sheheen than she and the state senator from Camden spent in their 2010 campaign combined.
Campaign-finance reports released over the weekend included the final fundraising totals from the gubernatorial race that Haley won by 14.5 percentage points in November — triple her victory margin four years earlier.
Haley, who will be inaugurated for a second four-year term on Wednesday, raised $8.4 million in her re-election bid, according to data filed with the S.C. Ethics Commission. She and Sheheen spent just over $8 million in their first meeting in 2010.
Sheheen raised $3.7 million in his most recent bid to unseat the former Lexington lawmaker — about $300,000 less than what he gathered in 2010.
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Petition candidate Tom Ervin, a former state lawmaker and judge from Anderson, put together $5.4 million — all but $120,000 of it self-financed — in his bid as a self-proclaimed “independent Republican.” He spent $4.1 million before dropping out a week before Election Day and endorsing Sheheen.
Haley, the state’s first female chief executive, was aided by becoming a national figure in her first term in the Governor’s Mansion.
The daughter of Indian immigrants adorned magazine covers and appeared on news programs, helping demonstrate the diversity within the Republican Party.
Haley was wooed by GOP candidates seeking the 2012 presidential nomination and landed a prime-time speech slot during that year’s Republican National Convention. Haley attended events hosted by party heavy hitters, including the industrialist Koch brothers, and won speaking engagements before Republican groups and large corporations, notably retail giant Wal-Mart.
That translated into millions in campaign donations from outside South Carolina that helped her outspend Sheheen in television ads and other campaign marketing.
Out-of-state donors accounted for 25 percent of Haley’s contributors, but they gave her more money —$3.9 million — than Sheheen‘s overall fundraising total, according to an analysis of campaign-finance records.
Florida and Texas were her most lucrative states. She raised more than $600,000 in each.
Haley received just about the same number of $3,500 contributions — the maximum allowed under state law — from Florida and Texas donors, 231, than Sheheen gathered from all his contributors, 239.
South Carolinians accounted for a little more than half of the money sent to Haley’s campaign.
Sheheen raised $9 out of every $10 from in-state donors. Democrats have said Haley’s national profile diverted her attention from South Carolina’s problems including education and low family income.
Haley’s camp countered that her emphasis on winning new jobs in the state made her a popular choice among voters.
The governor’s campaign account had $539,494 at the end of last year, according to ethics commission filings.
Haley is looking at options on what to do with the money, said Tim Pearson, who ran both of her gubernatorial campaigns.
“We appreciate the support of thousands of people across South Carolina and the country who helped the governor tell the story of our state’s resurgence,” Pearson said. “(Victory) wouldn't have been possible without the generosity of so many who believe in Gov. Haley and her vision for our state.”
Sheheen‘s campaign account had $9,367 at the end of the year.
Efforts to reach Sheheen and state Democratic leaders were unsuccessful Sunday.