Claim: Haley had "inappropriate physical relationship"

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Will Folks, South Carolina's top political blogger, is claiming this morning that he had an "inappropriate physical relationship" several years ago with gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley.

Haley, a Statehouse representative, recently climbed into the lead in the GOP primary. Folks makes clear that this alleged relationship was prior to his own marriage, but he seems to suggest that it was an indiscretion on the part of Haley, who has been married for 14 years and has two children.

It is what it is, and aside from the Haley family — Michael, Nikki, Rena and Nalin — I feel no need to apologize or explain myself to anyone.

Folks claims he was forced to admit the alleged "relationship" because the news was destined to be published this week. He says he will not make any further comment about the alleged relationship.

The Post and Courier reports that Nikki Haley has denied Folks' accusations, quoting from a campaign statement:

"I have been 100% faithful to my husband throughout our 13 years of marriage. This claim against me is categorically and totally false.

"It is sad, but not surprising, that this disgraceful smear has taken form less than a week removed from the release of a poll showing our campaign with a significant lead. It is quite simply South Carolina politics at its worst.

Haley canceled a TV appearance scheduled for this morning in Columbia. She is expected to be on WTMA talk radio in Charleston this Friday.

It appears that the Columbia Free Times was at least one of the outlets working on the story. They've quickly put together a piece from an anonymous source claiming to have received a confession from Folks last summer and the mystery man says it was confirmed by a former Haley staffer who now works for rival gubernatorial candidate Gresham Barrett. The staffer, B.J. Boiling, declined to comment for the Free Times story, but there were several people willing to say they'd heard the rumor.

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