Even for a state infamous for political mudslinging, the developing drama in the South Carolina governor’s race may set new bounds for tawdry with its tales of an illicit affair, domestic violence and now a cocoa-butter hand job.
The latest: Conservative commentators are pouncing on the credibility of blogger and political operative Will Folks, who says he engaged in an “inappropriate physical relationship” with candidate Rep. Nikki Haley.
Folks released a long series of text messages showing his coordination with Haley’s campaign – as recently as four days ago – to kill forthcoming media accounts about the affair. Haley’s office confirmed to CNN that the messages are real.
Included are messages from Haley’s campaign manager, Tim Pearson, Wesley Donehue, a local political operative and ally of Republican Rep. Gersham Berrett and Associated Press reporter Jim Davenport.
Donehue references the affair, saying Folks “is the one who screwed her. [Folks] is the one who bragged about it. She’s the one who told BJ.” Pearson discusses whether their denials will survive scrutiny. Davenport inquires about the issue.
Haley’s campaign did not return a call for comment about the text messages, but has denied the affair. Donehue said “I can’t talk about it any further.” Davenport said “we continue to try to vet the facts behind the story, as we have from the beginning.”
Meanwhile, key conservative commentators were already questioning Folks’s credibility and reporting damaging information about his past.
Folks was arrested in 2005 for criminal domestic violence, kicking in the front door of an apartment he shared with his then-fiancée and shoving her into a piece of furniture.
In light of that incident, conservative bloggers are pointing to a video created by Folks of a bizarre virtual conversation between Folks and Haley. In the conversation, an animated version of Folks twice jokes about domestic violence, telling the animated Haley, “While you’re at it, shut your mouth? Don’t you know I beat up women, like all the time?”
The animated Folks continues, “Someone should raise a fist up against you. Seriously Nikki, your competition is borderline retarded. Are you telling me that these three assclowns are too much for you?” The animated Haley says the comments are “inappropriate.”
Blogger Erick Erickson of RedState.com said the video shows “a more and more disturbing picture of him is taking shape — we’ve got some stalker vibe going on.”
Folks told The Daily Caller in an e-mail that the video was “A JOKE. If this is seriously going to be part of the … smear campaign against me, then I think it speaks to just how scared these people are of where this thing is heading.”
Folks did not respond to other questions from The Daily Caller.
Other bloggers focused on Folks’s motives for publishing the information. Blogger “Ace of Spades” satirically claimed “16 years ago, while she was still married, Margaret Thatcher gave me a cocoa-butter hand job.”
“This cat — Braveheart of Charlestown, I call him — is claiming they are trying to humiliate him by suggesting that he, when single, and a man, had a sexual affair with a woman, who was married,” the blogger wrote. “Really? You’re the one who’s humiliated?”
Folks has vowed to produce further documentation of his affair with Haley.