COLUMBIA — Democratic nominee for governor Vincent Sheheen said today that Republicans are trying to divert attention away from the need to create jobs and restore trust in government by raising questions about where he stands on national policy issues.

Sheheen, a state senator from Camden, said he has been clear about his positions on health care reform and abortion policies, despite criticism from the GOP. His comments came at a news conference to announce the endorsement of mayors from across the state, including Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. Charleston Mayor Joe Riley endorsed Sheheen in January.

"I support life, I've always supported life; my voting record reflects that," Sheheen said.

As for health care reform, Sheheen said he believes the next governor should be prepared to stand up to parts of the law that are not in South Carolina’s best interest. For example, Sheheen said he is concerned about the cost associated with implementing the law and any burden it may cause to small business. But, he said, there are aspects of the law he supports, such as stopping insurance companies from kicking children off the plan when they get sick.

Greer Mayor Rick Danner said he is most concerned about the issues that affect South Carolina more directly, and he believes that Sheheen’s platform delivers the best approach for combating the challenges. Danner said his office is non-partisan and that he is not registered as a Republican or a Democrat, although he did say that he voted for outgoing Gov. Mark Sanford in both 2002 and 2006.

Sanford is term-limited and cannot run for a third consecutive term.

Sheheen faces Republican nominee Nikki Haley in November. Haley is a state representative from Lexington.

Read more in Wednesday’s editions of The Post and Courier.