Voters in four states will head to the polls Tuesday to decide a series of runoff elections and the race in South Carolina is getting a lot of the attention.
In her bid to become the state's first female governor, Nikki Haley has endured weeks of political warfare -- much of it with her own party.
There have been charges of adultery, a racial slur about Haley's Asian-Indian ancestry, and questions about her faith, having been raised in the Sikh religion.
"I think their job is to distract [and] my job is to stay on message," Haley said of her critics. "I'm a Christian and have been since the mid-90s. I'm proud of the way I was raised."
Haley is a Tea Party favorite who shot to the top of the polls after being endorsed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. She has signaled a willingness to take on what she calls South Carolina's "good old boy" network with a clampdown on state spending. She also received a nudge of support from GOP heavyweight Mitt Romney last Friday.
Her GOP opponent, Congressman Gresham Barrett, won the endorsement of South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who finished fourth in the primary and has clashed with Haley in the past. Barrett is trumpeting his credentials as a solid Christian conservative.
Also, in North Carolina two Democrats face a runoff to see who will take on GOP Sen. Richard Burr. And Republicans in Mississippi's Second House District will be choosing a candidate to face the state’s incumbent Democrat in November. For analysis of those races, click play for CBN News Sr. Editor John Waage’s comments.
Other Key Races
Another runoff race in the Palmetto State's second congressional district features Paul Thurmond, the son of legendary former Sen. Strom Thurmond. Thurmond faces Tim Scott, who is bidding to become the state's first black Republican congressman in more than a century.
"Unborn Americans will be paying the price for benefits that people are trying to ascribe to themselves today. That's wrong. It's not right," Scott said during a recent political rally. "We hear people talking all the time, 'we need more earmarks.' ...We don't need more earmarks. We need courage. We need a backbone and some common sense."
Meanwhile in one of the most bizarre elections this year, South Carolina Democrats have decided that Alvin Greene -- an unemployed veteran facing possible federal obscenity charges -- will remain their nominee to face Sen. Jim DeMint in November.
Greene was unheard of before the June 8 election and did no campaigning. Despite that, he beat his opponent, Charleston City Council member Vic Rawl, with 60 percent of the vote.
"I'm sort of self-managed at this point," Greene said.
Rawl challenged Greene's victory, but was denied.
In the runoff race to replace ousted Utah Sen. Bob Bennett, businessman Tim Bridgewater is trying to hold off attorney Mike Lee. That election is expected to be a close race that could also be decided by Tea Party voters.