Lexington County Republicans voted to rebuke state Sen. Jake Knotts and urged him to resign after he referred to state Rep. Nikki Haley, whose parents came to the United States from India, as a "raghead."
Haley, a Tea Party-backed candidate, and U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett are headed for a June 22 runoff to determine who will be the nominee for governor this fall. South Carolina Democrats nominated Vincent Sheheen.
Knotts and Haley have been political rivals and represent competing wings of the South Carolina GOP, The (Columbia, S.C.) State reported Friday. During an Internet interview last week, days before the Republican gubernatorial primary Tuesday, Knotts urged voters to reject her, calling her a "raghead."
Knotts subsequently said he meant the reference as a joke.
He said Thursday he will not resign, as Lexington County Republicans have called upon him to do.
"This is not a Republican Party, this is a libertarian party," Knotts said. "This is nothing but politics. I'm not resigning. I could care less."
The vote came at a meeting at which county Republicans rejected a proposal to rescind Knotts' lifetime membership in the county party, the newspaper said.