Haley: DeMint's replacement must be a fighter

Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WIS) - Gov. Nikki Haley said that, while she's looking for a conservative fighter to replace U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, no one would be as conservative and staunch as him.

"Are they going to fight?" she asked about potential candidates. "Because we need some real fighters in Washington right now."

Haley gave no indication Wednesday of when she would make her decision.

"We want to make sure it's somebody in sync with South Carolina," said Haley. "There is no question I'm looking for a conservative person to fill those shoes."

The Republican governor has sole authority to appoint DeMint's successor until voters pick one in 2014. DeMint announced last week he would resign Jan. 1 to lead a conservative think tank.

Haley has reportedly narrowed her choices to five. They include former first lady Jenny Sanford, who endorsed and campaigned with Haley during her 2010 four-way primary.

Haley told reporters Wednesday that Sanford has remained a confidante since she took office. She says she seeks advice from Sanford about her performance in the job.

When asked if a political newcomer could fill DeMint's role, Haley referred to herself as an example. She said it's not about a person's time in office, but the effect they have and results they get once they get to Washington.

"It's not about how much political experience you have," she said. "It's about the fight.  It's about the philosophical belief.  It's about knowing what you're sent to Washington to do, and that's work for the people of South Carolina."

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