SC governor nixes bill for 2012 GOP primary money

AP News

6/28/2011 4:22:48 PM - AP News

South Carolina's first-in-the-South 2012 Republican presidential primary would lose taxpayer funding under vetoes issued Tuesday by Gov. Nikki Haley.

The state's Republican governor noted the primary had always been paid for by political parties. Parties also ran the events until 2008 when a wide-open race for the White House had Democrats and Republicans seeking taxpayer cash for their primaries.

Haley warned lawmakers in March not to put any taxpayer money into the 2012 primary, saying political parties should pick up the tab.

On Tuesday, Haley said primaries didn't merit state money because they are not a core government function. Nonetheless, Haley said the primary would go on.

"We are going to have the best South Carolina presidential primary we have ever had," Haley said. "And we're going to do it in the way that it was intended to be _ which is with private funds where each party goes and raises the money that they're supposed to raise," Haley said.

State GOP Chairman Chad Connelly said Monday the party will raise money to put on the contest that the state Election Commission estimates will cost $1.5 million.

Haley said she'd help raise money. "Whenever they have a fundraiser and I'm needed, I will be there," Haley said.

The party already has collected $160,000 from filing fees and expects more from candidates who want to take part.