- Associated Press - Saturday, November 1, 2014

GREENWOOD, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and her Democratic challenger, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, are traveling different parts of the state Saturday in a final get-out-the-vote push.

A surprising early snow didn’t stop supporters from coming to hear Haley, who was winding through the Upstate.

“I know you could’ve stayed under the blankets, so I’m thrilled you came out,” she told more than 100 people gathered in Greenwood, before heading on to Abbeville, Anderson, Clemson and Greenville.

Hazel Puyet, of Pawleys Island, said she came to the Greenwood event with relatives.

“I think she’s a very alert, spunky and capable woman,” said the 89-year-old retiree.

As expected, Haley’s message centered on the jobs announced by her administration, which she says is 57,000 in 45 of the state’s 46 counties. She has worked in her first term to brand herself the “jobs governor,” which has helped her sidestep several blunders. Sheheen has pointed out that many of the jobs won’t arrive for years, and that others have and will completely fall through. Haley discounts such criticism.

The crowd cheered loudly when she said, “Tell me if we’ve made a difference!”

Haley never mentioned Sheheen’s name, though she did note she’s up in the polls. But that’s not what matters, Haley said, urging people to cast ballots.

“Polls don’t vote,” Haley said. “What matters is what happens Tuesday.”

She spent much of her speaking time trumpeting other Republicans on the campaign trail with her, including Congressman Jeff Duncan, education superintendent nominee Molly Spearman and lieutenant governor nominee Henry McMaster, the former two-term attorney general who’s been a close Haley ally since losing to her in the 2010 GOP primary.

“I have a dream, and that dream is to have a partner in the Statehouse,” Haley said of McMaster.

People lined up for more than 30 minutes to get Haley to sign copies of her 2012 memoir and campaign T-shirts, including one that read, “It’s a great day in South Carolina,” the much-mimicked greeting that Haley asked all state employees early in her tenure to give when they answer the phone.

Sheheen is crisscrossing South Carolina with the goal of reaching black voters. Sheheen said nearly 300,000 African-Americans who voted in 2012 when President Barack Obama was re-elected did not vote in 2010 when he lost to Haley by 60,000 votes.

Those votes could be enough to put him over the top Tuesday, Sheheen said to an enthusiastic group of about 75 people at New Zion AME Church about 5 miles south of Bishopville.

“I need you to get two more people, three more people, four more people. That’s how we win this race,” Sheheen said. “Pick up the phone. Call your neighbor. Speak in your church. Speak at your work place. Talk to your friends.”

Unlike Haley, Sheheen called out his opponent frequently, accusing Haley of not caring about rural areas. He said she showed she cared more for politics than the poor when she refused to expand Medicaid eligibility.

“Y’all have seen Nikki Haley. It’s always ‘me, me, me’ and ‘I, I, I.’ I’m tired of having a ‘me’ governor. We’re going to have a ‘we’ governor in three days,” Sheheen said.

Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Bakari Sellers spoke before Sheheen, and said black voters who didn’t show up at the polls in 2010 must take the blame for what Haley has done as governor.

“If we lose this election, on Wednesday morning all you’ve got to do is look in the mirror and see what the problem is,” said Sellers, who planned 12 campaign stops Saturday.

The church stop was the first of six Saturday for Sheheen, including some tailgating at South Carolina State University’s homecoming football game and a rally in Charleston. He pointed out he tours the state a lot differently than the governor.

Haley travels in a bus wrapped in her logo and the names of thousands of her supporters who signed up to get their name added.

Nikki Haley travels in a big bus. Vincent Sheheen travels in a 2011 Honda Accord,” Sheheen said. “That helps me better know what is going on with the public. They’ve built a wall around Nikki Haley.”


Jeffrey Collins reported from Bishopville.

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