Let Hunger Games begin: Haley, Sheheen are in
Thursday, March 27, 2014 12:00 AM
We all have known it for quite some time now, but Tuesday it all became official: Nikki Haley and Vincent Sheheen are seeking the state's highest office.
On Tuesday, Haley filed for re-election and Sheheen filed to once again run against her as he did in 2010. That year, Sheheen lost by 4 percent, but what will 2014 hold?
It is largely true that in political races the incumbent has the upper hand, but we quickly remind readers South Carolina has had its share of one-term governors. One need only look back a handful of years to the governorships of David Beasley and Jim Hodges. They served back-to-back terms and were unseated by some hot-button items. For Beasley, supporting the removal of the Confederate flag from the Statehouse dome was a self-inflicted wound as was his opposition to gambling. For Hodges, it was the fact his campaign treasury gained great sums of money from video poker, but he threw the gaming industry under the bus, saying he would vote against gambling. Later, the state Supreme Court declared the gaming industry illegal and Hodges endured only one term in office.
Perhaps Haley does not bring the same type of baggage into the race. She has support among those on the far right, many of whom align with the tea party, but it remains to be seen if that will serve or will ultimately hurt her. Our best guess is it will do her more good than harm in an overall conservative state, but we don't discount the strength of the Democrats this time around, nor the surge of "Republicans for Sheheen," whose stickers were fairly visible even in Greenwood in 2010.
What has perhaps been interesting in the campaign thus far is watching Haley and Sheheen align with each other on some topics. By "align" we do not mean they stood side by side, hands clasped together in a show of unity. Still, the pair voiced their support for ethics reform, although they disagreed on whether recent steps made were sufficient. And they both tout a more streamlined state government.
Make no mistake. Sheheen has determined to once again set himself apart from Haley. Both have made visits to Greenwood, largely viewed as a GOP stronghold, and touted themselves. Haley touted strides in economic development and the significant drop in the unemployment rate while, quite noticeably, not mentioning Sheheen. At the time, of course, Sheheen was not an official candidate, but not acknowledging an opponent can be a strong strategy. Sheheen, on the other hand, wasted no time setting himself apart from the incumbent, going on the attack and proclaiming a "sharp contrast" between the two. And he was among friends while doing so as the guest speaker of a meeting of the Greenwood County Democratic Convention.
With Tuesday's filings making the race for governor official now, we do look forward to some more spirited debate between Haley and Sheheen. We also hope the two will see fit to return to the Lakelands to share their platforms. Neither should discount voters here.