Columbia -- Democratic gubernatorial nominee Vincent Sheheen on Friday said he, too, has supported government reform, pointing to a list of legislation that would have limited spending and created a fraud hot line and independent inspector general to investigate claims.
Sheheen made the claim that his Republican rival is stealing his ideas on a day in which a new poll shows Lexington Rep. Nikki Haley has a widening double-digit lead.
The sparring over government reform began Thursday when Haley said she would push for term limits, more on-the-record legislative voting and reducing the number of statewide elected officials.
Haley's campaign said Sheheen had resisted good government reforms she proposed.
But Sheheen campaign manager Trav Robertson said Haley had adopted Sheheen's ideas as her own.
"Her governmental reform plan is a carbon copy of plans Vincent Sheheen has proposed for years,'' Robertson said.
Among the bills Robertson cited as evidence were those creating a Cabinet-level Department of Administration to handle duties now under the Budget and Control Board; creating an Office of State Inspector General to investigate fraud, waste and abuse; a bill banning publicly funded lobbyists; and a bill capping annual General Fund revenues.
Sheheen was the lead sponsor of many of those bills, but none of them became law.
Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said that until Sheheen, an attorney, releases a list of his law firm's clients, his claims to reform are "laughable."
Legal experts have said S.C. attorney conduct codes prevent a lawyer from releasing the names of his clients without their permission.
Sheheen has said that his firm has thousands of clients and it is not possible to contact them all.
Meanwhile, a new Rasmussen Reports poll shows Haley has expanded her lead -- to 16 percentage points from 14 percentage points -- over Sheheen since the last Rasmussen poll Aug. 2.
Haley recorded 52 percent support from the telephone survey of 500 likely voters conducted Aug. 25, while Sheheen recorded 36 percent.
One in 10 voters remained undecided, while 3 percent support another candidate.
Haley has the support of 86 percent of Republicans, while Sheheen had the support of 72 percent of Democrats.
Haley won over independents by a 13 percentage point margin.
Haley is also seen as a more favorable candidate than Sheheen.
Thirty percent of those surveyed have a very favorable view of Haley, while 13 percent view her very unfavorably. Sheheen was viewed very favorably by 18 percent of voters, while 11 percent viewed him very unfavorably.
The poll has a margin of error of 4.5 percent.