In the aftermath of the Republican National Convention, a number of political observers are trying to answer the question, “Did the GOP present a compelling enough story to attract those much-needed independent voters that could put Mitt Romney into the White House?”
In an effort to chip away at President Obama’s advantage in the polls among women and minority voters, the RNC’s attempted to show the party’s diversity with its choice of speakers that included South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. As most South Carolinians know, Haley is the state’s first female governor and first of Indian descent. College of Charleston political science professor Dr. Kendra Stewart says while Haley’s speech did not wow the delegates, it did serve its purpose.
“Her personal story allows her to reach out to a handful of different groups or coalitions that the Republicans are really trying to reach out to this election,” Stewart told South Carolina Radio Network, “That, of course, includes women, minority populations, small business owners, and entrepreneurs.”
Haley was chosen to speak at the convention in part because she was one of the first Republicans who rode the wave of the Tea Party movement into political office to support the Romney campaign. Tea Party members in South Carolina and across the country have been slow to warm up to Romney and, for that reason, Stewart says Haley has taken a gamble with her political capital by supporting Romney early and making campaign appearances with the him in the state and outside the state. “She runs a risk in doing this at home because she has been criticized for looking too much outside of the state and focusing a little more on national attention, and not getting the work done at home (in South Carolina),” Stewart says.
Haley continues to be viewed as one of the bright young stars of the Republican Party, and possibly one with higher political aspirations. However Stewart said she does not see Haley accepting a post in a Romney Administration because she has expressed in the past her commitment to South Carolina and to break that promise would be politically risky.
“I think what could be of greater benefit to Governor Haley if Romney wins is that the federal government would then have maybe a more favorable outlook on South Carolina. That could bring other rewards to the state and that could help her win another statewide election.”