Nikki Haley endorses Ron Johnson after he backed company sending jobs to her state

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Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley endorsed Republican Sen. Ron Johnson in his run for reelection.

Weeks after backing a decision by a prominent Wisconsin defense contractor to locate 1,000 jobs in South Carolina instead of his home state, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is now touting an endorsement from South Carolina's former governor.

Republican Nikki Haley, who served as South Carolina governor from 2011 to 2017, told the Daily Caller on Thursday that she was backing the embattled Johnson for a third term this November.

"Ron Johnson is a rock solid conservative who won't back down from a fight," she said. "Whether it's the economy, national security or punching back on COVID mandates, Ron is unafraid to call out the Left's hypocrisy. We are lucky to have him in our corner and I can't wait to see him reelected this November."

Haley agreed to do a campaign event for Johnson and tweeted out a request for donations to his reelection bid.

Johnson praised Haley — who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under former President Donald Trump and has alternated between criticizing and lauding her former boss — in a statement published by the Dally Caller:

From serving as Governor of South Carolina to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley has shown herself to be a strong conservative leader. Her principled leadership stands in stark contrast to the divisive policies of President Biden that have weakened America. I am grateful to have her on my side as we fight for freedom and Wisconsin's U.S. Senate seat.

But while Johnson currently holds one of Wisconsin's two U.S. Senate seats, he has come under fire from his own constituents for backing jobs for South Carolina rather than for his state.

Oshkosh Defense, one of his largest campaign donors and a prominent Wisconsin-based defense contractor, was awarded a 10-year $482 million contract to build the next generation of U.S. Postal Service delivery vehicles in early 2021.

Last June, the company announced it would hire more than 1,000 people to build those vehicles, but would do so at a new facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Oshkosh Defense's union workers have been pushing to instead make those trucks in the company's hometown of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. But when asked in February whether he would encourage the business to put the jobs in his own state, Johnson said he would not.

"I think when using federal tax dollars, you want to spend those in the most efficient way and if it's more efficient, more effective to spend those in other states, I don't have a real problem with that," he replied.

Days later, he told an Oshkosh Defense union worker not to worry about the jobs going to South Carolina because it would actually help them.

"As long as Oshkosh gets the contract, that will benefit Wisconsin, Oshkosh, and Oshkosh workers," the Republican senator argued. "A more financially stable company will benefit union workers and Oshkosh. You'll have the engineering, you'll have the management, who knows how many component parts might be shipped out of some of your plant locations and down to South Carolina."

Pressed during a telephone town hall by another constituent frustrated by the lack of well-paying jobs available in the state, Johnson answered that "economic development is not universally distributed."

Haley ran in 2010 on a promise to bring jobs to South Carolina. "South Carolina's rich natural resources, hardworking families, and innovative small businesses have long been the envy of other states," her campaign site said. "We need to maximize the opportunities in South Carolina to strengthen our state's businesses, create jobs, and cut our unemployment rate."

Now Johnson appears to be helping that effort.

"It's not like we don't have enough jobs here in Wisconsin," Johnson told a reporter in February.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.