Nikki Haley's presidential campaign is renewing focus on her time as South Carolina's governor.
Haley needs a strong performance in her home state in the upcoming primary.
But Trump has racked up the lion's share of GOP endorsements there.
But Haley has collected fewer endorsements in South Carolina than Trump. The former president has the support of prominent South Carolina figures like Gov. Henry McMaster, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, and Rep. Nancy Mace, along with a raft of top GOP state officials and state lawmakers.
It's left Haley in a political conundrum. She needs to show Republicans across the country that she can perform well in her home state in order to continue her campaign. But if she can't generate new endorsements and energy there — where she served as governor from 2011 to 2017 — where else can she do it?
Chip Felkel, a well-known South Carolina GOP political consultant, told The New York Times that Haley's dilemma is largely one of her own making.
"She was good on economic development but not great on cultivating relationships," he told the newspaper. "She forgot who helped her get here."
During a recent appearance in New Hampshire, Haley said that some South Carolina lawmakers had "no love" for her because she ran an anti-establishment candidacy in 2010 that did not adhere to the state's traditional political culture.
Haley also said some politicians in South Carolina didn't like that she rejected pork barrel spending or pushed for greater transparency in the legislature.
South Carolina Republican State Rep. Nathan Ballentine, a longtime Haley ally who is backing her campaign, told The Times he was dismayed — but not shocked — that Republicans whom Haley supported are not returning the favor and instead now lined up behind Trump.
"The good ol' boys have never liked her," he told the newspaper.
As of January 27, Trump maintains a significant lead in FiveThirtyEight's weighted polling average of the South Carolina GOP primary, with the former president averaging 62.5% support and Haley averaging 29.2% support.
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