COLUMBIA — Republican S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and her expected Democratic opponent next year, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, raised more than $1.2 million during the last three months, taking in more money than they brought in during the same period in 2010, when they also faced off for governor.
Haley, who has not formally announced her re-election bid but has been raising money throughout her first term, had her best quarter of this election cycle, raising $619,218 from April 1 through July 10, according to a report filed with the S.C. Ethics Commission. The Lexington Republican has $2.45 million on hand.
Sheheen, a Camden lawyer, raised $611,314 from April 1 through June 30 – his first full quarter of fundraising since he announced he would run for governor again.
In 2010, Haley beat Sheheen by less than five percentage points. In that election, the two candidates raised nearly $8 million combined.
During the past quarter, a little more than 90 percent of Sheheen’s donors live in South Carolina. About 27 percent of his donations came from lawyers, more than any other occupation.
Fifty-five percent of Haley’s donors in this period live in South Carolina. About 4 percent of her donations came from lawyers, the second highest of any occupation, trailing “retired.”
More than 30 percent of Haley’s donors did not include an occupation, while 22.7 percent of Sheheen’s donors did not include an occupation.
Haley raised the most money – $56,010 – from Myrtle Beach, followed by $52,700 from Charlotte and $50,114 from Columbia.
Sheheen got the most money – $128,150.24 – from Columbia, accounting for 21 percent of his contributions. His next highest total came from Camden, his hometown, with $84,219.21. The next highest was Greenville with $63,421.
Sheheen is ahead of his fundraising pace from four years ago.
He had raised $459,577 as of his June 30, 2009, filing, according to state records.
Haley, too, is running ahead of her 2009 fundraising totals, when she raised $193,555 during the same period.
Sheheen has brought in a campaign manager, Andrew Whalen, who helped former Tennessee quarterback Heath Shuler defeat an incumbent Republican congressman from Western North Carolina in 2006.
“The outpouring of support shows that the people have had it with Nikki Haley’s secretive, incompetent, broken government and they believe in Vincent’s vision for getting South Carolina back on track,” said Whalen, whose firm was paid $3,145 by Sheheen.
Sheheen spent $16,500 during the quarter on finance chairman Will Blanton, who also worked on his 2010 campaign.
Haley’s re-election campaign will be led by Tim Pearson, who managed her 2010 victory, which started with a come-from-behind win in the GOP primary.
“Considering the governor hasn’t announced for re-election, the fact that she has almost $2.5 million in the bank is a great sign, a sign that there’s a real appreciation of the things she’s done to bring jobs to South Carolina, help bring the unemployment rate to a four-year low and reform state government,” said Pearson, whose firm was paid $12,000 by Haley.
Neither Haley nor Sheheen is expected to face serious – if any – primary challenges. Their rematch would be the first South Carolina gubernatorial race between same two candidates from different parties in state history.