1 of 2
David Goldman, Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets supporters at a campaign event Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012, in Charleston, S.C.

CHARLESTON, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is predicting that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will win her state's pivotal Southern primary.

Haley says she believes that Romney's Mormon religion will not be a liability in South Carolina.

Evangelical voters are a potent force in GOP politics in South Carolina, and some believe that Mormons falsely claim to be Christians.

The child of immigrants from India, Haley points out that South Carolinians elected her, a 38-year-old Indian woman, their governor.

By peeling away from the campaign for New Hampshire's leadoff primary next Tuesday, Romney is making a show of force in South Carolina, the first Southern primary state.

Joining Romney for a campaign appearance Thursday were Haley and the GOP's presidential nominee in 2008, Sen. John McCain.