Will Folks has made a name for himself in South Carolina politics, emerging as an influential insider and prolific blogger despite embroilment in controversies throughout his career. His websites FITSNews and Viewpolitik have become go-to sources for political scoops and analysis in the state. However, scandals related to domestic violence and an alleged affair have cast shadows over his prominence.
Early Life and Education
Folks was born in Florence, South Carolina in 1974. He attended the University of South Carolina, graduating in 1997 with a degree in history. While a student, he wrote for The Daily Gamecock student newspaper. This experience helped launch his career in communications and journalism.
Entry Into Politics
After graduating, Folks jumped right into state politics. From 1997 to 1999, he served as a legislative aide to the South Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee. This first taste of insider politics provided connections and exposure to launch his political career.
Communications Director for Mark Sanford
Folks’ big break came in 2001 when he was hired as communications director for Mark Sanford’s gubernatorial campaign. After Sanford’s victory, Folks then served as Press Secretary for the new governor from 2003 to 2005. This high-profile role gave Folks intimate knowledge of South Carolina politics.
Founding Viewpolitik and FITSNews
In 2003, Folks founded Viewpolitik, a political PR firm. Then in December 2006, he started FITSNews, an online political blog. Folks was now both a political insider and member of the media.
Influence and Reach in South Carolina Politics
FITSNews provided Folks a platform to build his influence by scooping stories and providing insider commentary.
Prolific Output and Insider Scoops
Folks earned respect for his prolific output and consistent insider scoops. His network of sources fueled coverage of deals, scandals, and maneuvers.
Expanded Audience Beyond Insiders
While initially appealing to insiders, FITSNews’ audience expanded to general citizens interested in accountability. Folks claims the site reached 1.5 million monthly visitors.
Controversies and Scandals
However, Folks’ career has been marred by major controversies that cost him roles.
Domestic Violence Conviction and Resignation
In 2005, Folks resigned as Sanford’s Press Secretary after pleading guilty to criminal domestic violence, ending his time in the administration.
Alleged Affair With Nikki Haley
In 2010, Folks alleged he had an “inappropriate physical relationship” with Nikki Haley during her run for governor.
Affair Allegations and Responses
Folks provided detailed accounts of the claimed affair on FITSNews. Haley vehemently denied the allegations as “categorically false.”
Impact on Haley’s Campaign
The allegations brought Folks disrepute but did not substantially impact Haley’s campaign, as she defeated her GOP rivals.
Continued Prominence Despite Controversies
While the scandals could have doomed Folks’ career, he remains a prominent figure.
Undeterred Blogging and Analysis
FITSNews continues serving scoops and analysis to readers daily despite the controversies.
Remains Go-To Source in State
Folks is still considered the first call for insider political knowledge in South Carolina.
What’s Next for Will Folks?
As Folks approaches 50, observers wonder what’s next for the controversial blogger.
Potential Changes and New Ventures
Some expect Folks may pass FITSNews to new ownership at some point to pursue new ventures.
Staying Power in Social Media Era?
It remains unclear whether Folks can maintain influence as social media reshapes South Carolina’s political landscape.
Will Folks has undoubtedly made his mark on South Carolina politics through his insider access, prolific blogging, and curated controversy. However, it remains to be seen whether he can sustain relevance and leverage his massive platform to open new doors professionally and politically. Regardless, his sites remain the first stop for those seeking the latest scoop in the Palmetto State. Folks has no plans to relinquish that post anytime soon.
Q: What is Will Folks best known for?
A: In South Carolina, Folks is best known for his political blog FITSNews and his role as an influential insider source on state politics.
Q: What scandals has Will Folks been involved in?
A: The two biggest scandals were Folks’ 2005 domestic violence conviction that led to his resignation as press secretary and his 2010 allegations of an affair with Nikki Haley.
Q: How has Will Folks remained influential despite controversies?
A: Through unrelenting blogging on FITSNews, Folks has maintained his insider access and large audience, keeping him a relevant voice.
Q: Does Will Folks still run FITSNews?
A: Yes, as of 2023 Folks continues to run and write for FITSNews, which he founded in 2006.
Q: What’s next for Will Folks’ career?
A: It’s unclear what Folks’ next move will be. Some expect he may sell FITSNews and pursue new political or media ventures in the future.