Gubernatorial candidates have plenty to spend ahead of November - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Gubernatorial candidates have plenty to spend ahead of November election

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

With just five months left before the gubernatorial election, expect to see and hear a lot more on the governor's race.

Governor Nikki Haley wants to keep her office at the State House and both Vincent Sheheen and Tom Ervin want to take it from her and they're willing to pay big bucks to get their message out there.

"A lifetime ago, we are the state that elected a US Senator on a write-in candidate campaign," said Shell Suber with the Felkel Group.

A memory Tom Ervin hopes South Carolina voters will have when they head to the voting booth in November.

Between the candidates, there's nearly $10 million to spend before November.

Haley has the largest amount raised so far, Democratic State Senator Vincent Sheheen in the middle and Ervin trails with about $1.5 million, according to the latest estimates.

But that $1.5 million still packs a punch, according to political analysts.

"He will have ample opportunity in a state small as South Carolina to get that message across," Suber said. "He'll be a significant player even if but that doesn't mean it will translate into votes."

Aside from fundraising dollars, Haley also has the help of the Republican Governor's Association.

"The RGA has an enormous amount of money at the ready, should she need it," Suber said.

But even with the RGA's help, the real question is whether or not an independent candidate like Ervin can channel Strom Thurmond's write-in campaign and take the seat.

Deep in the archives of the Richland County Library is the story of the 1974 governor's race.

Peggy Jennings ran as an independent. She didn't win. But she also kept Bryan Dorn from winning the seat.

"That was sort of a breakup of the Democratic party," Suber said.

So does that mean Ervin is poised to take votes away from either Haley or Sheheen?

Suber said it's pretty likely.

"He can spoil their chances," Suber said.

On a national level, independent or third party candidates have had a tough time making gains on Election Day.

Historically, Theodore Roosevelt got the closest to victory running on the Bull Moose ticket over 100 years ago and coming in second in the 1912 presidential election taking votes from Republican incumbent William Howard Taft.

Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved.

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