South Carolina state Rep. Nikki Haley cruised to the Republican nomination for governor tonight, a victory that makes her not just the frontrunner for the office this fall but a likely national GOP star.
Haley crushed Rep. Gresham Barrett in the runoff race, an expected result given that she took 49 percent of the June 8 primary vote — narrowly missing the chance to win the nomination outright. The Associated Press called the runoff race for Haley at 8:22 p.m. eastern time.
In other South Carolina races, Spartanburg County prosecutor Trey Gowdy (R) easily defeated Rep. Bob Inglis (R) in the 4th district — making Inglis the third House incumbent to lose a bid for re-nomination this year.
State Rep. Tim Scott (R) also claimed victory in the 1st district runoff; Scott’s likely victory positions him to be the first black Republican in Congress since Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts‘ retirement in 2002.
Meanwhile, in neighboring North Carolina, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall bested former state Sen. Cal Cunningham to win the right to face Sen. Richard Burr (R) in the fall.
National Democrats had spent nearly $200,000 on Cunningham in hopes of pushing him across the line against Marshall but he came nowhere close.
Polls close in Utah — where Mike Lee and former congressional candidate Tim Bridgewater are competing for the GOP Senate nomination after Sen. Bob Bennett (R) was ousted at the state’s convention last month — at 10 p.m. eastern time.
The South Carolina governor’s runoff was the marquee event of the night, however.