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Published: Thursday, May. 14, 2009 / Updated: Thursday, May. 14, 2009 05:06 PM

Rep. Haley announces bid to become state's first female governor

- The (Columbia) State

Lexington County Rep. Nikki Haley said today she is launching a bid to become South Carolina’s first female governor.

Haley, 37, joins an already-crowded Republican primary field, but one still searching for a clear heir to the smaller, more efficient government policies of Gov. Mark Sanford, who is ineligible to run again.

U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett, Berkeley state Sen. Larry Grooms and Furman University political scientist Brent Nelsen have announced they are running. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer and Attorney General Henry McMaster are weighing bids.

Haley is in her third term in the South Carolina House, having unseated a long-serving veteran in 2004. Haley has been a contrarian voice in the House, often standing against the majority. She has frequently supported Sanford’s positions, but has also carved out her own issues.

"I know what good government can look like," Haley said. "I'm running for governor so the people of the state will know what it feels like."

Last fall Haley called on the House to adopt rules requiring on-the-record voting, pushing through the change despite initial opposition from House leadership.

If elected, Haley would be the first South Carolina governor from the Midlands since Camden's John West served from 1971-1975.

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