A new Republican Governors Association television ad attacks Democratic challenger Vincent Sheheen's past work in defending criminal cases.
The 30-second ad that started airing over the weekend notes that Sheheen, a Camden attorney, has represented defendants in child abuse and domestic-violence cases.
"So next time Sheheen says he'll protect women from violent criminals, ask him: What about the ones who paid him?" a narrator says. "Vincent Sheheen protects criminals. Not us."
Sheheen has said he has handled a small number of criminal cases in his hometown of 6,900. Most of his work is civil. Many of the cases cited by opponents are more than a decade old.
"As a former prosecutor, Vincent has seen what families and victims go through and he has worked with law enforcement to hold criminals accountable and achieve justice," Sheheen campaign manager Andrew Whalen said. "This dishonest ad by Nikki Haley's DC friends is a disgusting and desperate attempt to distract from children being abused and dying because of the reckless leadership at Haley's Department of Social Services."
Questions surrounding the cabinet agency's handling of child deaths has been the subject of an ongoing probe by a special state Senate panel. Sheheen has called for DSS director Lillian Koller's removal.
The RGA has aired four anti-Sheheen ads in the past seven weeks at a reported cost of about $400,000.
The other ads have focused on Sheheen's support for taking the first three years of Medicaid expansion under the federal Affordable Care Act that would come at no cost to the state. Haley, who sits on the RGA's executive committee, has rejected the expansion.
Neither the Sheheen campaign nor the Democratic Governors Association have aired television ads this year.
Latest RGA television ad against Vincent Sheheen