S.C. Governor to Nix Taxpayer Funding for Primary

Posted June 27, 2011 at 6:11pm

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) will veto taxpayer funding for the Palmetto State’s Republican presidential primary, according to the Associated Press.

The state budget allotted $680,000 for the primary, despite Haley’s insistence against using tax revenues to pay for the election. Two officials told the AP that Haley is expected to announce her veto Tuesday.

The governor’s office said state funding for a political race would be superfluous.

“In this budget year we need to focus on core functions of government, and the Presidential Primary — which was until recently always paid for by the Parties, not the taxpayer, simply doesn’t fall into that category,” Haley press secretary Rob Godfrey said in a statement.

An opinion released Monday by South Carolina’s attorney general presented another option for funding. Under the opinion by Attorney General Alan Wilson, the State Election Commission could reach a deal with the state Republican Party to collect the money from the GOP, according to the AP.

When reached by Roll Call, a top Republican in the state seemed pleased by the attorney general’s decision. The source said the opinion presented a way for the state to be involved in the election, lending credibility to the process, without providing state funding.

Along with the first-in-the-nation caucus contest in Iowa and the cycle’s first primary in New Hampshire, South Carolina’s primary is a key stop for Republicans on the road to the GOP nomination. No Republican has won the party’s nomination in the past 30 years without winning the Palmetto State primary.