Gov. Nikki Haley’s statewide bus tour made two stops Friday in Beaufort County, part of a final push to rally voters before Tuesday’s election.
A boisterous crowd of about 200 supporters got an early start to chant and cheer for the incumbent Republican at 8 a.m. at the Hilton Head Island Republican Club office on Mathews Drive. Haley also stopped at Sun City Hilton Head.
Recent polls of likely voters indicate she comfortably leads Democratic challenger Vincent Sheheen. However, Haley urged local voters not to become complacent.
“I know the polls are in our favor right now, but polls don’t vote,” Haley said. “Let’s make sure we’re not leaving it up to chance.”
Earlier this week, petition candidate Tom Ervin dropped out of the governor’s race and endorsed Sheheen. Recent polls projected Ervin to finish a distant third. Libertarian Steve French and United Citizens candidate Morgan Bruce Reeves are also seeking the office.
Haley said that in her second term, she would expand career and technical education as part of her economic development plan.
Sheheen and Ervin have blasted that plan and the claim that businesses have created 57,000 new jobs in Haley’s tenure.
An analysis by The (Columbia) State newspaper found that a little more than half of the jobs the governor announced in 2011 and 2012 have actually been created at this point.
However, Haley maintains economic development is working and that sending more students through technical colleges will fuel further progress in the next few years.
“The Technical College (of the Lowcountry) is a shining star,” she said. “A lot of these jobs are not university-degree jobs. They pay well; they’ve got great benefits. They’re $70,000- to $80,000-a-year jobs, but we just need about 12 months of technical-school training.”
After her Beaufort County stops, Haley headed to Bamberg, Aiken and North Augusta. Her tour continues through Monday evening across the state.
On Thursday, she was joined by two other Republicans — Henry McMaster, a candidate for lieutenant governor, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal — at a stop in Charleston.
This week, Sheheen launched his own statewide tour with Ervin, including stops in Rock Hill, Columbia and Charleston. Sheheen has not announced any stops in Beaufort County before the election.