FLORENCE, SC (WIS) — Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen and Republican state Rep. Nikki Haley had some contentious exchanges Tuesday night during the final gubernatorial debate at Francis Marion University.
Haley asked voters to join her movement for fiscal responsibility and Sheheen asked voters to pick a governor they can trust. When the issue of ethics came up, both candidates unloaded.
"My opponent likes to bash me for being a lawyer," Sheheen said at one point during the debate. "You know what, I'd rather be a successful layer and rather have a successful lawyer as my next governor than an accountant who didn't pay her taxes."
"He's successful, alright," responded Haley. "In the first two years of being in the Senate, he became the fifth-highest-paid attorney in workers comp cases."
"It gets a little bit old listening to her preach to me when I have followed the ethics laws," said Sheheen. "I recuse myself when voting on commissions, when she had jobs like Wilbur Smith, when she was asked in the debate if she reported the income and she mislead the public."
"Senator, you have spent 80% of your advertising money attacking me and every director at the Department of Revenue and every ethics commissioner said I've done nothing wrong," Haley shot back.
The candidates again argued over the number of employees in the Department of Education. Haley again said the department has over 1,100 employees, while Sheheen countered that only about 880 of those positions have actually been filled due to budget cuts.
A fact check provided by the Department of Education shows Sheheen's figure to be correct. State Superintendent Jim Rex, who lost the Democratic primary to Sheheen, went so far as to call Haley's statements "untruths."
Sheheen says he'll do whatever it takes to make an interstate to Myrtle Beach a reality, while Haley says she can't support tolls or a national infrastructure bank. Both candidates said Interstate 73 is critical to economic development.