SC gubernatorial candidates throw jabs, focus on jobs, economy

CHARLESTON, SC (AP/WCSC) - In the first of two scheduled gubernatorial debates, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley touted the tens of thousands of jobs her administration announced, while her challengers blasted her numbers as not real.

"Governor Haley kept her focus tonight on the record of results she's delivered for the people of South Carolina," says her deputy campaign manager Rob Godfrey. "She let her political antagonists do what we know they're always going to do, which is try to distract her from that record because it's a great record."

Democratic Sen. Vincent Sheheen said roughly half of the announced jobs have shown up and many of the planned openings have fallen through. Independent Tom Ervin asked Haley to post the economic incentive packages given to lure companies to the state, saying she's "given away the farm."

Haley says she has the right approach to increasing residents' prosperity.

Sheheen says the state needs to expand Medicaid eligibility under the federal health care law. Ervin says the state needs to increase the minimum wage.

"We've got to grown the economy for all," says Ervin. There are so many people still hurting in South Carolina. Unemployment is ticking back up."

Sheheen attacked Haley on her ethical misconduct citing her fines for violating ethical laws.

"Governor Haley has repeatedly violated the ethics laws. That's the bottom line. I have not."

Haley did not let that slide and said she wasn't found guilty and that Sheheen had voted against ethics reform.

Also on stage Tuesday were Libertarian Steve French and United Citizens candidate Morgan Bruce Reeves.

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