Nikki Haley exposé fails to surface, blogger Will Folks’ affair claims in doubt

Will Folks claimed he was pressured to admit his extramarital affair with South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley last week because of a soon-to-be-broken news story detailing his “inappropriate physical relationship” with the Republican. But, a week later, that damning newspaper article is nowhere to be found.

Speculation now centers on what Folks’s motivation might have been for hurting Haley just two weeks before her name appears on the Republican ballot in the Palmetto state.

From day one, Haley has denied an affair ever took place. Folks has countered those denials by disclosing a few phone, text records and conversations on his political blog that he says show the two had late-night phone conversations and hence an illicit relationship.

On his website, Folks insinuates the Columbia Free-Times newspaper was about to break a story about his affair with Haley, and indeed the newspaper itself has admitted one of its reporters did investigate such a rumor. But according to one knowledgeable source, while a Free-Times reporter did talk to Folks on May 13, no story was ever budgeted to run that week.

The reason? The Daily Caller has learned that around the time Sarah Palin endorsed Haley at a Columbia rally, an attorney for the paper advised editors not to run the story because the paper only had one source alleging the affair.

Folks did not return messages from The Daily Caller left on his cell phone and sent to his e-mail address asking him to name the news outlet that he says pressured him. But his blog mentioned last week that reporter Jim Davenport, the senior statehouse reporter in Columbia of the Associated Press, was also looking into the story.

“The short answer is no,” said spokesman Jack Stokes, when asked if Folks reacted to a potential story from the AP. Dan Cook, the editor covering the story at the Free-Times, did not respond to requests for comment.

As for Folks’s motive, Red State’s Erick Erickson has backed away from his report last week boasting of proof that Folks had “been trying to sell this story for a year.” Erickson said then he knew “who paid Will Folks to push this story out there.”

In an interview with The Daily Caller, Erickson said he was concerned about being “definitive” about the report because his sources on the subject have stopped answering his phone calls. “I don’t know for sure,” Erickson now says. “I can’t prove it.”

He also said “lawyers got involved to keep me in bounds,” as a precaution against any legal issues. Still, Erickson said, “it seems awful odd that a guy who was a Haley supporter all along” all of a sudden blurted out an alleged affair so close to the primary.

RedState’s editor also said his original post was written partly in jest to make fun of how Folks over the last week has slowly released information proving the affair. “By and large the reason I wrote those posts on Friday was to mock the same people who have been reporting every dribble of news” that’s been on Folks’s website, Erickson said.

As for Folks, Erickson noted how the blogger isn’t saying much about the matter anymore: “I think by now it’s turned into a joke.”

A spokesman for Haley’s campaign declined to comment for this story.

The Daily Caller’s Amanda Carey contributed to this report.

E-mail Alex Pappas and follow him on Twitter

  • Supernatural Witness

    The emails from her own agent imply strongly that she had slept with him. IMHO he took the opportunity to get his 15 minutes of fame bragging about having bagged her. She is much more attractive than him. Im glad she has kept mum and I hope it blows over since it apparently was a foolish but discreet private one time heated moment.

    • evanc

      Just like when Bill Clinton had oral sex!

      We can’t let things like this blow over, especially when the candidate is running on family values. Why can’t we ever get someone who REALLY DOES appreciate family values in there representing us? It’s always the opposite: The democrats who claim to want to help everyone turn people into government dependents and ruin lives. The republicans who speak out against homosexuality so intensely turn out to be gay. The family value bozos who sleep around and don’t understand the first thing when it comes to family.

      It’s all political bs! People battling for power, not political philosophy!

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  • oeno

    Why? If it weren’t for the outgoing governor I don’t think anyone would pay attention. Hell, even one of the TPM editors said that she was “badass”. I don’t live in SC, but I don’t care if she slept with the guy. I’d want to know where she stands on a ton of issues, knowing that the state is looking at a huge budget deficit. I don’t care what they do on their time (which is why Sanford took such a hit in my mind) I care about what they do on our time.

    • elektramourns

      a huge budget deficit

      Proof that it is time for Republicans to GO in SC. If they cannot blance the numbers, which they stand for, what good are they? just a crazy fringe group run by AynRand Paul and othert strange creatures

      • oeno

        Actually Rand Paul is not named after that sadsack of, well I don’t know how to describe Ayn Rand.

        Rand Paul was stupid, not in that he questioned parts of the Civil Rights Act. He should have said, “We had that debate as a country. It was decided by a legislative body and later by the Supreme Court. That does not mean that we cease having a conversation about these things. “States rights” was poisoned by racism some fifty years ago, but it doesn’t mean we just toss the concern overboard. We need to clear the boards and understand that a healthy debate about Federalism is overdue.”

        • evanc

          Exactly brother! I’ve been banned from so many youtube videos for saying stuff like that! As soon as you say Rand Paul isn’t a racist, or that what he’s saying isn’t meant to be racist, YOU get called a racist!

          People just don’t understand.

  • moira1987

    Will Folks = stalker = Joe McGinniss

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  • leilani

    robb32 said at 6:12am: “I will say this would make a heckuva defamation suit”

    Nikki Hayley’s a public figure, but I wonder if her husband & kids have any standing to sue for defamation? Their whole family was smeared by him as being based on deceit – they still stand accused by Mr. Folks of essentially aiding & abetting in the perpetration of a fraud as much as she. Probably the only way we’re going to find out which pol put Folks up to this is through legal discovery for a suit of some kind or another.

    (Although I’m told that people in SC have already figured out for themselves which sleazy politician Folks is connected to.)

  • leilani

    Well,whaddyaknow. The Columbia Free-Times, the alternative newspaper Folk’s blog strongly implied was going to break the story which allegedly necessitated that he publicly preempt the revelation himself under the laughably absurd pretext of protecting his wife, had only one (1!) source & never had any intention of publishing an accusation which couldn’t be supported independently?

    Since by many accounts the quite, um… ordinary looking Mr. Folks has been openly trying to peddle for well over a year this story which casts him as some kind of improbable lothario whom famous beautiful women (including local TV news anchors) risk everything in order to bed, it certainly doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out who that single source was.

    And by now, since he’s been so mysteriously unforthcoming with any of the bombshell evidence he promised he had in his possession which would be so probatively damning, it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out he concocted the whole thing either.

    About the only thing now left to figure out about the very strange Mr. Folks is upon whose behalf he was trying to torpedo Ms. Hayley’s lead in the primary.

  • philprofbob

    Best thing to do here is exercise the right to dignified silence. This “story” is probably going to go away. Soon.

  • NeoKong

    Hmmm….so the angry crazy stalker guy’s story isn’t panning out.
    Didn’t see that coming.


  • robb32

    I will say this would make a heckuva defamation suit against AT LEAST the blogger and maybe the Dems party and the paper..IF….there is no merit to the allegation. Dems never let truth stand in the way of a good rumor.

    • elektramourns

      and neither do Republicans….Faux News is living proof of that

      • thephranc

        Can you offer some of that proof?

      • brian61

        I love the constant attacks on Fox News. There are 5 major networks that tilt to the near and far left (CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC). One network stands along on the right, and liberals wail night and day about how unfair it is. It sucks when you lose your monopoly, doesn’t it?