The biggest Republican threat to Nikki Haley’s reelection hopes next year has officially announced that he won’t be challenging the governor.
State Treasurer Curtis Loftis told supporters in an email on Monday that he will be seeking another term as treasurer in 2014, ending any speculation about whether Loftis would try to unseat Gov. Haley in a GOP primary.
“Inside the corridors of power the special interest whispers that ‘it is all about Curt running for governor,’” Loftis said. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
So does that mean Loftis has no plans to run for governor in 2018, assuming he keeps his post as treasurer next year? Don’t count on it. By avoiding a primary challenge against Gov. Haley, Loftis can likely count on Haley’s support when he eventually does seek higher office instead of sowing division among the SCGOP. And with a wealthy backer such as Republican power broker Mallory Factor, you can bet Curtis Loftis will be seeking higher office — albeit later rather than sooner.
However, that doesn’t mean Gov. Haley won’t face primary opposition next year when she seeks another term in the governor’s office. Palmetto Public Record has heard rumblings that Republican Sen. Ronnie Cromer has also been exploring a 2014 gubernatorial bid, though at this point nothing is definite. In any case, Loftis likely would have presented the greater threat to Haley’s reelection hopes.
On the Democratic side, 2010 gubernatorial nominee Vincent Sheheen — who narrowly lost to Haley despite the “tea party revolution” during that election cycle — is widely expected to take another shot at the governor’s office next year. With Sheheen’s election hopes looking even better this cycle than in 2010, he may have a good shot. However, former House Minority Leader Harry Ott is also speculated to be considering a run after he resigned his leadership post — so a potentially contentious primary may be in the works after all.