The Republican presidential candidate, regarded to be somewhat moderate, earned her Tea Party support because “he knows how the private economy works, how to fix it, and most importantly how to solve problems,” Haley said in her announcement.
The fact that Romney knows how to donate to campaigns might have more to do with it, though.
His “Free and Strong America” political action committee donated $36,000 to Haley’s campaign in 2010.
And she’s not alone, either. Romney has, to date, received 35 endorsements from politicians his PAC donated to first, implying those open supporters may just be returning a favor, or were even paid for that favor early on.
Haley’s endorsement may not have a $36,000 value, either. In her first month as governor of South Carolina, she’d earned only a 36-percent approval rating. It’s dropped slightly since then, too. Another poll conducted weeks ago found only 34.6 percent to approval of Haley as her first year as governor nears closing.
The endorsement could be negative for both of them, actually. While she’s been appearing with Romney on his recent tour of the state, Haley’s Tea Party supporters are openly questioning her decision to endorse the candidate they regard to be much too moderate.
“There’s no Tea Partier that I talk to in the state or nationally that would want to promote Romney,” Karen Martin, head of the Spartanburg Tea Party, said in an NPR interview. Martin referred to Haley’s endorsement of the moderate Republican as “betrayal.”
It’s not helping Romney in South Carolina, either; while leading the slate of all Republican candidates who’ll appear on the Jan. 21 primary election, he still only gets the nod from 32 percent of likely voters in recent polls. That’s even less than Haley’s approval rating.
The only question is, who will this endorsement hurt most? Romney in the upcoming primary, or Haley in her 2014 reelection bid?