South Carolina Election Has Done Got Fugly.

I think this is going to be my one and only post about this race, guys. Every time I write a draft, no matter how hard I scrub afterwards, I can’t get the filth off my hands.

A quick recap.

It has been quite a campaign for South Carolina Republican gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley (pictured).

Haley, who has the backing of Sarah Palin, has faced two allegations of extramarital affairs in recent weeks – both of which she has vehemently denied. Now she is in the middle of a controversy involving one of her rivals, state Sen. Jake Knotts, who called her – along with President Obama – a “raghead.”

“We already got one raghead in the White House,” Knotts said on an Internet political talk show last night, according to The State. “We don’t need another in the Governor’s Mansion.”

Really you fucking hick?  Are you that big a fucking rube?  Do you bone your sister and run moonshine with Cooter and Uncle Jesse on weekends too?

Haley’s parents are Indian immigrants you dumbfuck.  That makes her a dothead.  Get your racist labels right!

Haley was raised as a Sikh before converting to become Methodist. This is the point where someone has to explain to me why someone who, as a young adult, chose a particular religious path in a conscience effort, after having experienced life for a while, is less trustworthy (in terms of faith) than someone who is merely following along with those around them.

Why do we choose to vilify and insult people who CHOOSE to follow our religion?  Oh, that’s right you can be a born again christian as long as your skin tone is “pale”, but if you have a little color to you it’s all part of an Al Qaeda plot.

Citing those who saw Knotts’ comments, The State reports that he “talked at length about Haley’s parents’ religion and her family” on the show.

The newspaper notes that when Haley ran for the South Carolina House six years ago, anonymous fliers surfaced erroneously calling her Hindu.

Both Knotts and Haley, a state representative, come from Lexington, but they have conflicting political loyalties in the Republican gubernatorial primary as Knotts is backing Haley rival Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer.

The South Carolina GOP called on Knotts to “apologize for his inappropriate comments, so that we can put this unfortunate incident behind us and focus on issues important to moving our state forward,” Politico’s Ben Smith reports. Knots ultimately put out a statement doing so — kind of.

“My ‘raghead’ comments about Obama and Haley were intended in jest,” he said. “Bear in mind that this is a freewheeling, anything-goes Internet radio show that is broadcast from a pub. It’s like local political version of ‘Saturday Night Live.’

He added: “Since my intended humorous context was lost in translation, I apologize. I still believe Ms. Haley is pretending to be someone she is not, much as Obama did, but I apologize to both for an unintended slur.”

Haley spokesman Tim Pearson called Knotts “all that is wrong with South Carolina politics.”

“He’s an embarrassment to our state and to the Republican Party,” he said. “South Carolina is so much better than this, and the people of our state will make that quite clear [in the primary] next Tuesday.”

This latest bit all started with David Brody of CBN (surprise, surprise- my favorite, neighborhood group of xenophobic asshats is in the mix) wondering why Haley’s campaign website in 2004 emphasized her Sikh faith and why her current one emphasizes her Christian faith. Just a case of a reporter doing a little digging on his own initiative? Not quite. Ben Smith:

[I]n the nasty game of South Carolina politics, in which Haley has already been accused twice publicly of infidelity, the religion story has a clear political charge. Brody told me in an email that his story was prompted by “a tip from an anonymous source,” and Tim Pearson, Haley’s spokesman, said the story was “being shopped” and that Brody wasn’t the only reporter to call him about it.

A source close to the campaign of one rival — Rep. Gresham Barrett, who touts his Christian faith in his ads — said the Barrett campaign has at least discussed playing the religion card. The source said his aides sometimes refer to her by the Indian name with which she was born, “Nimrata,” in the campaign office.

“They always thought that the relgion thing would be what would save Gresham in the end against Nikki,” said the source, an outside adviser to Barrett who said he was speaking to a reporter because he disliked the notion of attacking Haley on her faith.

Barrett’s camp adamantly denies that they’re responsible. Now that we’ve covered ye olde infidelity and “foreigner” smears, I figure we’re two days away from the obligatory lesbian accusation and then, on primary eve, maybe an “anonymous tip” that she killed a bunch of kids back in the 80s or something.

But the biggest bombshell of all is being saved for the general election. Could Nikki Haley be … a closet atheist? Hopefully Will Folks’s book shall reveal all, my friends.

All in all this is just about as low as it can go.

But why am I not surprised?  This is after all South Carolina, the state where front-running John McCain’s chances at the Republican nomination in 2000 were all but crushed after a tasteless robocall falsely accusing him of fathering a black child out of wedlock.

“The Palmetto State” can be an an forgiving political landscape, one where desperate people take things to a desperate level all too quickly.

Hopefully the good people living there see their way past all of this and make an informed decision come primary day.

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