Jenny Sanford Endorses Candidate for SC Governor

Influential first lady could give crucial boost to Nikki Haley
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2009 1:47 PM CST
Jenny Sanford, wife of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, speaks about her husband's recent affair admission at the family beach house in Sullivans Island, S.C., on Friday, June 26, 2009.   (AP Photo/Alice Keeney)
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(Newser) – Jenny Sanford is getting back into politics—by endorsing a relative underdog in the South Carolina Republican gubernatorial primary. Mark Sanford's estranged wife announced her support for Nikki Haley, a "principled, conservative, tough and smart” candidate, in the five-way race for the nomination to replace her husband. Haley was a strong ally of Mark Sanford's but has distanced herself from the governor since the scandal surrounding his extramarital affair.

Jenny Sanford, a former Wall Street executive who managed both her husband’s campaigns, could be a key ally for Haley, who has less money on hand than her primary rivals. “Some folks are questioning if Haley's a credible candidate," a political scientist tells the State. "But Jenny Sanford carries some weight. It sends a signal that you might not be wasting your vote."