After announcing the hacking, Haley decided to stay in South Carolina during the final weekend before the presidential election to pay attention to breach updates. Haley canceled planned trips to swing states to campaign for GOP presidential nominee Romney and did not go out stumping for state Senate candidates she had endorsed.
That is the best move she made while in office, said Bob McAlister, a media consultant who was chief of staff for Republican Gov. Carroll Campbell. She said she would concentrate on what was important to South Carolinians.
Democrats said Haley may have learned from the negative reaction that some voters have had to her frequent out-of-state trips to campaign for Romney and attend fundraisers. Haleys latest fundraiser came while she was attending a Republican governors conference in California, more than a week after she learned about the data breach but days before the public was informed.
But while Haley stayed in South Carolina, she cannot escape responsibility for the hacking, Democrats say.
This happened (the hacking) because she was not doing her job and not being serious about being governor. She let people down, Democratic consultant Lachlan McIntosh said. This is not going to be the only issue in the election. She has been stepping in it right and left and right.
Finding some wins
Haley has spent two years promoting her jobs record she has announced 29,000 jobs at economic-development events.
But she has yet to build a constructive relationship with the GOP-controlled Legislature. Haley angered some lawmakers by announcing her own set of ethics reforms without warning and issuing legislator report cards, grading them on their willingness to agree with her. Nonetheless, Haley plans to issue a second set of legislative report cards later this year.
In what some saw as retaliation, legislators killed a Haley-backed proposal to create a Department of Administration, which would give the governor more control over agencies and a chance to cut bureaucracy, on the last day of this years legislative session.
Now, says GOP consultant Felkel, Her emphasis needs to be finding some wins.
Haley has not released her legislative agenda, though her office said improving cyber-security will be among her priorities.
The governor does not think that the cyber-attack, which happened on her watch at an agency that she directly controls, has damaged her ability to work with lawmakers, Haleys office said.
But Haley must drop her offices constant-campaign mode to win more legislative victories, Felkel said. The appointment of Bryan Stirling, a veteran from the state attorney generals office, to succeed Tim Pearson as chief of staff could help in that area.
Haley needs to decide how she will work with the Legislature confrontationally, like her mentor Sanford did, or collaboratively, like former Gov. Campbell, Quinn said.
Up until now, she has been a hybrid of collaborative and confrontational, Quinn said. Confrontational works when the governor and (the majority of) lawmakers are with different parties.
But confrontation does not work when the governor is a Republican and the Legislature is GOP-controlled, Quinn added. This just hurts the whole Republican Party in the long run. Hopefully, she will be more of a consensus builder.