S.C. Politics: Haley Wins, GOP Congressman Ousted

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The Tea Party has shown its muscle again in the latest round of runoff elections leading to November.

In Tuesday's high-profile race, South Carolina Sen. Nikki Haley -- bolstered by the Tea Party and Sarah Palin -- took a big step toward becoming the state's first woman governor.

Haley survived personal attacks on her Asian-Indian background, her faith and charges of infidelity to win 65 percent of the vote.

"This is a story about determination and a story about a movement," she said. "This is the movement about the idea of government being open and accountable to the people. This is the story where we push the idea that the taxpayer should get ahead of the special interests every day of the week."

If Haley goes on to defeat her Democratic opponent Vincent Sheheen, she could find herself in the national limelight.

Read more about Haley's political prospects on the latest The Brody File blog.

Voters in South Carolina's fourth district sent another "incumbents beware" message by defeating Congressman Bob Inglis in a landslide. He'd voted for bank bailouts and to reprimand fellow South Carolina conservative Joe Wilson for shouting "you lie" at President Obama.

Challenger Trey Gowdy took advantage.

"I think the message of principled conservatism is the one that resonates with the people in the fourth congressional district, and I know I've said it before, but it bears repeating-- the most prevalent comment I heard throughout this process was 'thank you for running a race worthy of the people you want to serve.'"

The Palmetto State could also see its first black Republican congressman since Reconstruction. Tim Scott won his race against Paul Thurmond, son of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond.

Meanwhile in Utah, attorney Mike Lee got strong Tea Party support in his narrow win over businessman Tim Bridgewater.

Lee will be the heavy favorite to succeed ousted Sen. Bob Bennett in November.

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John Waage

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John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.