South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley had an intimate evening with Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota on Sunday, inviting the tea party favorite to the mansion for dinner and an overnight stay.
Although she has yet to endorse a candidate in the rapidly heating up GOP presidential primary, Haley’s backing would give any of the Republicans vying for the nomination a boost in the South Carolina primary, which comes early in the election season and has provided critical momentum for presidential hopefuls in the past.
Haley also has had positive things to say about Gov. Rick Perry, who met with her prior to announcing his run for the White House. And an excited Herman Cain, a GOP businessman in the contest, tweeted a photo of his first meeting with the governor.
Haley certainly has reason to feel the love for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whose endorsement helped vault Haley from the back of the pack in the GOP gubernatorial primary last year to become the nominee. Palin has flirted with a run for president but is not officially in the race. Haley may feel pressure to hold her endorsement until Palin finalizes her decision about getting in.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also threw his weight behind Haley in 2010, in addition to writing a $3500 check to her campaign. Romney got Haley’s endorsement in the 2008 primary, although he ultimately came in fourth.