Meet Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman:
The Texas Observer: Kitzman, a 54-year-old Houston native, is a close friend of [South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley]. Kitzman formerly directed the South Carolina Department of Insurance, but former Gov. Mark Sanford forced her out of that post. She ran for lieutenant governor in 2010, raising the majority of her campaign cash from the insurance industry, but lost the race. When Haley entered the governor's office this year, she appointed Kitzman to a coveted position leading South Carolina’s budget board. Kitzman held the $173,000 post for six months before bolting for Texas this summer to regulate the insurance industry under Perry.
Looky here! Kitzman has had that job for about three months, and she's already good at the pay-for-play game. In September, she headlined a political fundraising event where she had her hand out and Big Insurance filled it... for her BFF Nikki.
This would be the very same Big Insurance that she's paid by Rick Perry to regulate.
When asked to comment, Kitzman's assistant said she was out of state and when asked where out of state, her assistant's witty retort was, “I’d rather not say.”
So much for that.
So why would Kitzman go to Texas to raise insurance money?
South Carolina voters have accurately predicted the eventual GOP presidential nominee since 1980; and a recent Winthrop University poll found that 70 percent of Republicans in the state approve of the job Haley is doing.
Meanwhile, the fresh-faced Tea Party governor has been sharpening her national profile and spending much time on FOX News, ramping up talk that she's angling for a placement on 2012 vice presidential shortlists.
Kitzman’s Texas fundraising for Haley could be aimed at currying favor for Perry with the governor of a state with a January primary that could make or break Perry’s presidential run.
Alex Winslow, director of Texas Watch, a consumer protection watchdog group that has advocated for tighter regulation on the insurance industry in Texas, sums it up:
“There’s all kinds of speculation that Perry made this decision as a way to court Haley.”
What a handsome couple.
H/t: @PaigeCoop and @CoreyHutchins wrote the piece in the Observer.