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Nikki Haley is the governor of South Carolina, a mother of two, the daughter of immigrants, and her state’s first female governor and first Indian-American governor. She’s married to a National Guard officer and trained as an accountant, after keeping the books for her family’s clothing business as a teenager. As a state legislator, she made a name for herself as a hard-charging fiscal conservative. Hanna Rosin of The Atlantic calls Haley “a self-styled reformer who explicitly took on, and defeated, the good ol’ boys who run the Statehouse.” Sarah Palin, who campaigned for her in the primaries, called her a “scrappy underdog,” a reference to the discrimination and exclusion Haley has had to overcome.
Haley just made headlines for appointing Rep. Tim Scott to replace retiring Sen. Jim DeMint. Scott will be the first black Republican senator from the South since Reconstruction, and will be the only African-American in the Senate. Haley gets it that the Republican Party can’t be led just by gray-haired white guys.