Republican gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley today will release about 8,000 e-mails she sent and received as a state lawmaker.

Media outlets have sought access to the e-mails since two Republican operatives claimed they had affairs with Haley -- allegations that arose just days before Haley won the four-way GOP primary on June 8.

Haley, a state representative from Lexington, repeatedly has denied the affairs.

Her Democratic opponent, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, previously released his legislative e-mails and challenged

Haley to do the same. Sheheen supporters have said it's hypocritical of her not to release the e-mails because she has made transparency a big issue in her campaign.

Haley said Thursday her staff needed time to review the thousands of messages and block out names of constituents who had e-mailed her about health issues, prison cases, custody cases and other sensitive or personal matters.

"We had to go through and take out every one of those names to protect the citizens because they never thought these e-mails would be released," she said. "It is a distraction, but I will do it."

Haley has served in the Legislature since 2004. It's unclear how far back the e-mails go.

Sheheen campaign manager Trav Robertson said Sheheen also blocked out such personal information from his e-mails. Asked about Haley's statement that the e-mails are forthcoming, Robertson said, "Let's talk again tomorrow. Let's see when she releases them."

Haley also criticized Sheheen for emphasizing her e-mails but not discussing where he stands on Obama's health care legislation, Arizona's immigration law and passing objective standards for worker's compensation reform.

"Those are the things that affect people every day," she said. "Is he pro-life or is he pro-choice? He won't answer. All he is doing is talking about me. What I'm going to do is talk about the people of this state and where we need to go under the Haley administration."

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771 or rbehre@postandcourier.com.