By SEANNA ADCOX
COLUMBIA, SC (AP) South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's endorsement of Mitt Romney was hailed as a coveted prize in the presidential nomination contest that could help seal the deal for the Republican frontrunner. Instead, a double-digit loss sent a bruised Romney to Florida, and left questions on the impact to the first-term governor who was seen nationally as a tea party favorite.
Many tea party activists say Haley's choice disappointed them.
Haley says she doesn't weigh political outcomes when making decisions, and her base understands that.
Veteran political consultant Richard Quinn says the race's first major shock Saturday was certainly an embarrassment for the governor, but one she'll get over. His firm backed winner Newt Gingrich after Jon Huntsman pulled out.
Activists credit Gingrich's come-from-behind win to his debate strength and Romney's timidness.