Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Vincent Sheheen traveled across South Carolina on Tuesday to underscore a point he made in North Charleston last week, and is making in a new TV ad: His opponent's repeated record of paying taxes late raises a red flag about her integrity and competence.
Republican Nikki Haley's campaign said Sheheen is going negative because he is trailing in the polls and has run out of things to say about his own vision for the state.
"This is a troubling pattern of behavior," Sheheen said, standing next to an enlarged list of Haley's late tax payments.
"I would expect someone who is running for governor to have the courage to accept the responsibility for her own mistakes," he said.
"Just like (Gov.) Mark Sanford, Representative Haley seems to believe that the rules that apply to all of us don't apply to her."
Sheheen's new, 30-second ad hits Haley not only for paying taxes late but also for "hiding" a consulting contract, favoring a higher tax on groceries and being Sanford's hand-picked successor.
Haley for Governor campaign manager Tim Pearson said the ad shows that Sheheen has run out of things to say about his vision for the state.
Pearson said Haley has paid every dime of taxes she owed, and never hid any contract -- she disclosed it even though the State Ethics Commission said she didn't have to.
He also noted that she favors comprehensive tax reform, including eliminating business income taxes, and only in that context would she consider increasing the grocery tax.
"Not only are Senator Sheheen's negative personal attacks against Nikki off base, but they are obviously designed to distract voters from his own Columbia insider record of supporting one taxpayer rip-off after another," Pearson said.
"We are confident that South Carolinians will reject Vince Sheheen's negative campaign and his liberal political views."