PICKENS COUNTY—South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley made a stop in Easley on Thursday to endorse Senator Larry Martin in his race against Representative Rex Rice.
A crowd gathered at Easley City Hall to hear from the Governor, including a group of East End Elementary students who took the afternoon off from school.
“I don’t come out and endorse often, but when I come out and endorse, I do so because someone showed me courage, they showed me strength, they showed me fight, and they showed me that they cared for the people of South Carolina,” said Haley. “Get out there and call everybody and let them know that Governor Nikki Haley is going to fight for Senator Larry Martin, and I need you to fight for him too.”
Haley says Martin has been a big help in the Senate.
“Senator Larry Martin showed courage when it was hard to show courage, and he always fought when I needed him,” said Haley. “As Governor of South Carolina, there has not been one time that I have gone to Senator Larry Martin and he was not there.”
Martin says the endorsement from the Governor meant a great deal to him.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Governor Haley,” said Martin. “What a great endorsement. I think this demonstrates that I have been a very reform-minded Senator, regardless of what has been characterized.”
Haley addressed Rice, saying that the representative has been known to raise taxes.
“I know his opponent. He is a friend of mine and I’ve served with him in the house for many years,” said Haley. “The hardest part about dealing with (Martin’s) opponent is that there was never a tax increase he didn’t like. We were constantly dealing with the fact that he was for tax increases. I’m constantly fighting to reduce taxes.”
Haley says she needs a senator like Martin representing Pickens County.
“You have a decision to make,” said Haley. “I have a partner. I have a fighter in Larry Martin. He’s a fighter that I’m not willing to give up on because he has been there every single time.”
The Senator says he has made an effort to work with Haley since she became Governor.
“There’s an element (in the Senate) that doesn’t want reform and has set out to keep Governor Haley from being successful. They don’t even want to compromise, and that’s what I offered to do early on,” said Martin. “I went to her and told her I would do anything to help her. I told her ‘when we agree I will be your biggest fan, and when we disagree I won’t be your biggest critic.’”
Martin says he believes the local residents will appreciate Haley’s visit.
“It means a lot to have her here, because I think she’s very well thought of in this area,” said Martin. “Even if you don’t agree with her on every issue, you know her heart is in the right place.”
Haley has only endorsed six candidates this year. Those endorsements include State Senate candidates, Lee Bright, Deedee Vaughters, Greg Hembree, Tony Barwick, and Martin.