Independent candidate for governor Tom Ervin released a new radio ad Wednesday shredding Gov. Nikki Haley as "missing in action" after having lunch with rock star Joan Jett at the Republican Governors Association meeting earlier this week in New York.

Haley was attending the RGA's three-day spring gathering. At the same time, lawmakers in Columbia are debating ethics legislation.

Haley and her husband, Michael, had lunch with the sometimes leather-clad rocker Jett at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, where the RGA meeting is taking place.

The 30-second Ervin ad, which is being run statewide, his campaign said, includes the lines:

"This week the South Carolina General Assembly is debating ethics reform. And where is our governor? Gov. Haley is in New York having lunch at the Waldorf Astoria. And who with? Rock star Joan Jett."

"Haley promised us real ethics reform but instead of fighting for South Carolina, Gov. Haley is missing in action."

Ervin, a former judge and Democratic lawmaker from Greenville, has become a thorn to Republicans who have challenged his adopted practice of calling himself an "Independent Republican" while he is running as a petition candidate. That means he needs to collect the signatures of 10,000 registered S.C. voters to qualify for the November ballot.

Haley has admitted to being a Jett fan.

Rob Godfrey, Haley's campaign spokesman, downplayed the ad as a stunt.

"It's just silly politics. No one in our state has pushed harder, or is pushing harder, for ethics reform than Governor Haley," he said.

Haley has advocated for an independent panel to investigate lawmakers, and that legislators be required to disclose their sources of income.

The last scheduled day of the legislative session is June 5.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.