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In 2010, Vincent Sheheen lost the South Carolina governor’s race to Nikki Haley by the slimmest of margins – 51.4 percent to 47 percent.
The Democrat senator from Camden, who represents a portion of Lancaster County in the S.C. General Assembly, announced Wednesday, April 10, that he is once again running for governor of the Palmetto State.
Sheheen, who has represented the state’s 27th District since 2004, is the first candidate from any party to officially announce a bid for governor.
Haley, who was in Lancaster on Thursday, April 11, to attend the groundbreaking for the expansion at Red Ventures in Indian Land, has not formally announced any re-election plans. Haley said with her job schedule, two children, a husband deployed in Afghanistan and the election still so far off, she’s not felt an “urgency” to decide if she's running for another term.
That’s not the case with Sheheen. Based on his recent actions and his comments Wednesday, the 41-year-old father of three firmly believes South Carolinians deserve a better shake than what they’ve been getting since Haley’s election in 2010.
In March, Sheheen released the self-published book “The Right Way: Getting the Palmetto State Back on Track,” which outlines his vision for the state’s future.
In his book, Sheheen cites South Carolina’s high ranking on the Bloomberg Network’s “Misery Index” as reason enough for concern. The state’s ranking as fourth highest in the country is based on high unemployment and a sharp decline in median household income.
He also made several stops across the state, including here in Lancaster, to promote what he considers a “revolt against the status quo.”
“Our state deserves better than the failed and dysfunctional government it has received from our current politicians. We need leaders,” Sheheen said in a statement issued by his campaign.
Sheheen cited the state’s unemployment rate, which has been the 10th highest in the nation for the last decade.
Under Haley’s leadership, Sheheen said the state’s unemployed workers have gotten little help. He said small businesses have been ignored and public education has been neglected.
He said South Carolinians pay the highest college tuition rates in the Southeast and the state’s families struggle just to make ends meet.
“This administration’s dysfunction allowed hackers to steal the most personal and private information that more than 3 million of us have and the governor has refused to take responsibility for it,” Sheheen said. “There’s a better way.”
Haley said she’s not surprised by Sheheen’s decision to run again or his harsh words about her administration.
“He’s been running since 2008, so I don’t really see a change,” she said.
Sheheen said he won’t start actively campaigning for the governor’s seat until the legislative session ends in June.
Contact copy editor Gregory A. Summers at (803) 283-1156