Sheheen: Who do you trust?

Dem critical of Haley for tax and employment scandals

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Just got off the phone after talking issues with state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate from Camden.

We had our talk about jobs, education, jobs, energy, jobs, and the environment (we'll save all that for next week). But the message he's driving home to voters on the campaign trail is about trust and leadership.

"The question voters need to ask themselves is, 'Who do they believe will tell them the truth?'" Sheheen told us from the car on the campaign trail.

It's a message that appears to have resonated with voters.

A wide lead for Haley has narrowed to no more than nine points, with more than one in every four Haley supporters saying they're keeping their options open. Those numbers and internal polling has the Haley camp calling in reinforcements from the Republican Governors Association, forcing the national group to put resources in this red state that they could be using in highly competitive battles in Florida, Illinois, and Georgia.

Meanwhile, Haley can hardly find a news cycle that doesn't have her name and "scandal" in the same headline.

Personal accusations aside, the past few months have revealed a string of questionable decisions, including a hidden $42,000 contract for her Statehouse connections, questions about her unusually high-paying job as a hospital fundraiser, and the slow trickle of tax records that have revealed years of chronic delinquent tax filing.

Most recently, voters learned that Haley lied about her resignation from her job at the Lexington Medical Center. Haley had suggested in April that it was an amicable split that would allow her to spend more time on the campaign trail, but newly released e-mails show the hospital was trying to force her out.

"We are not going to be successful unless we have leaders people can trust and respect," Sheheen tells the City Paper.

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