COLUMBIA, SC — A statewide television ad campaign starting Monday criticizes 2014 Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Vincent Sheheen for backing the federal expanded health care plan in South Carolina, according to a copy of the commercial obtained by The State on Sunday.
"Now Vincent Sheheen wants to use Obamacare for a $2 billion expansion of Medicaid expansion in South Carolina," the 30-second ad paid by the Republican Governors Association says. "Millions of families losing their health plans. Thirty-four thousand South Carolina jobs could be lost. And Vincent Sheheens plan? Even more Obamacare."
The ad ends with an image of the Camden attorney with President Barack Obama, who failed to carry South Carolina in his two presidential victories.
The RGA won't say how much its spending on the ads that the group says shows how Sheheen's views are out of touch with the state. But the first round of buys is estimated at more than $200,000 on behalf of Republican Gov. Nikki Haley's re-election bid. Haley sits on the RGA's executive committee.
This is the second round of ads supporting Haley that go after Sheheen's support of the Affordable Care Act. The Movement Fund, a pro-Haley political group, spent about $300,000 to air television spots a year ago.
Haley has not hit her campaign account for ads. She had $3.7 million she on hand at the end of 2013 compared to $1.4 million for Sheheen.
"We have not seen this (RGA) ad, and cant comment directly on it; but it is a fact that Vince Sheheen would take our state down the road of Obamacare, which would be a disaster for our health care, our jobs, and our state budget, Haley campaign spokesman Rob Godfrey said.
Sheheen has backed taking the first three years of the health insurance expansion that would not cost the state anything. South Carolina would have to pay a portion of the costs starting the fourth year.
Haley has declined to have the state participate, which critics say threatens the lives of thousands of uninsured South Carolinians.
Democrats said the ad campaign launched eight months before voters head to the polls in November shows Haley is looking for help after missteps in her first term, including the massive 2012 data breach at the S.C. Department of Revenue.
"She must have raised some red flags while she was with her Tea Party friends in D.C. last week," S.C. Democratic Party spokeswoman Kristin Sosaine said referring the RGA meeting. "They wouldn't need to frame Vincent Sheheen so far ahead of the election if he wasn't a serious threat."
Haley defeated Sheheen in the 2010 governor's race by 4.5 percentage points.
RGA ad for Gov. Nikki Haley
Click here if you can't see the video.