Haley's decision to run for re-election really isn't that much of a surprise:South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) will seek reelection in 2014, her spokesman said Monday.
Haley will make her bid official at a previously planned Aug. 26 rally in Greenville that will include Sen. Tim Scott (R) and Govs. Scott Walker (R-Wis.), Bobby Jindal (R-La.) and Rick Perry (R-Texas).
Spokesman Rob Godfrey, in a statement, cited the big response to the rally.
“And once we did that, Governor Haley decided that we might as well make it official – she’s running for reelection,” Godfrey said. - Washington Post, 8/12/13
Given Haley's unpopularity and difficult time winning her first race, you would think she would step aside and let a stronger Republican candidate run against Sheheen. But of course she isn't going to do that and she's rallying up her other awful GOP colleagues to help jump start her 2014 re-election bid. While Haley's been getting ready for re-election, Sheheen's been not only been out campaigning and telling voters about his vision for a better South Carolina, he's also been acting more like a real Governor than Haley:Haley has been raising money for a re-election campaign, but so far has not officially announced plans to seek a second term.
The governor’s race next year is expected to be a rematch with Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen of Camden, who lost to Haley by less than 5 percent in 2010.
Another potential Republican presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, is scheduled to be in Anderson on Aug. 26 for U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan’s annual Faith and Freedom barbecue and fundraiser. - Greenville Online, 8/12/13
Sheheen has shown that he not only genuinely cares but wants action to be done about the tuberculosis outbreak in South Carolina. He even wrote Haley telling her to get off her ass actually take initiative like a Governor is suppose to do:State Sen. Vincent Sheheen attempted to one-up Haley last week, sending her a letter detailing his visits to the families affected by the Greenwood County tuberculosis outbreak and asking her to create a “TB Crisis Controller,” or a single point of contact for the families.
When Haley’s camp dismissed the Camden Democrat’s request, calling him a “political ambulance chaser,” Sheheen’s camp fired back. “Governor Haley has now officially said more about politics and the TB outbreak than she has said about families affected by the scandal – certainly much more than she has ever said to the parents directly,” said Kristin Sosanie, S.C. Democratic Party spokesperson.
In response, Haley’s former spokesman Rob Godfrey – now a campaign adviser – criticized Sheheen for “ambulance chasing for victims whenever a problem arises in the state. If he could figure out a way to do it, he’d blame Nikki Haley for the weather being bad.” - The State, 8/10/13
Governor Haley,But Sheheen's early entrance into the epic rematch has voters noticing that only when Sheheen announced his candidacy and started to campaign did Haley really start to focus on some serious issues like education funding:
Yesterday, I met with families and children exposed to tuberculosis as a result of the outbreak in Greenwood County. It was made clear to me that the parents are extremely dissatisfied with the timing of notification to them and with the response thus far. I write today to share their stories and advocate on their behalf for a single point of contact stationed in Greenwood County empowered by your office – a TB Crisis Controller -- responsible for getting the consistent answers and treatment these families need and deserve.
As a father of three boys in public school, speaking with these families was deeply emotional. To hear what these children and families are struggling with medically as a result of the TB exposure was compelling, but also to hear of the confusing and bureaucratic way they have been treated by state government in the aftermath of this public disaster was appalling.
The lives of these children and parents have been turned on their head, and not just medically.
One poor little girl suffers because of a reaction to the TB medication that not only makes her sicker but extends the length of her treatment. Two of the mothers shared stories of broken play dates and isolation for their kids because other families do not want their kids to be around a child who has been exposed. Another mother mentioned how her daughter could no longer go to her grandparents’ house or participate in a family vacation because of the fear of exposure and the need for constant medication.
What made me angry was hearing about state government’s continued failures to these families. One parent talked to me about repeatedly showing up for medical visits only to be told that she would have to wait hours because a nurse was not available. Another mother told of being in the waiting room at a DHEC clinic and having the staff call out her son’s name across the room and say that his TB medication was ready. For a small community and a major public scandal, this exposure of her son caused her concern through no fault of his own.
The stories each of them told were the same: Repeated calls to DHEC that are not timely returned. Two-hour wait times on appointments for children. No consistent point of contact for questions about medication, or how to proceed with the treatment of their children. Families had to get a court order to force DHEC clinics to open up on the weekend so those infected could receive appropriate care. Push back from DHEC staff on testing family members and certain segments of the school population. And above all, confusion about what is now going on and why their children were allowed to be exposed.
The list goes on and on. We can do better. They deserve better. What appears to be missing is a single point of authority within Greenwood County for the families to get consistent answers and to manage this crisis in a consistent manner.
That’s why I propose the immediate designation of a TB Crisis Controller to serve as the single point of contact for families dealing with exposure to tuberculosis. This position can be an existing staff position, or a new creation, but it’s long past time that these families have someone to meet with to help them navigate through the government dysfunction.
The government clearly failed our citizens in Greenwood in this matter, and it’s long past time that the State step up and stop making it even more difficult for them. Now is the time for leadership.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter.
Sincerely, Vincent Sheheen
CC: Senator Floyd Nicholson
Senate Medical Affairs Committee Chairman Harvey Peeler
Let me give you all a taste of what Sheheen's been up to on the campaign trail and why I think he is going to succeed this time around:Gov. Nikki Haley’s focus on reforming the way South Carolina funds its public schools should at a minimum spawn a vital discussion about the state’s future.
South Carolina’s education funding system has been a mess for years. Schools get money from so many different sources that it’s hard for anyone to keep track. Attempts to fix the problem on a piecemeal basis have only added to the confusion.
What we do know is that students in poorer areas have access to far fewer learning opportunities than those in other parts of the state. Poorer schools offer fewer courses and use less sophisticated technology. In more affluent areas, however, students choose from a wide array of college prep or technology options. They also have access to the latest computers or tablets.
It’s also shameful that we allow students in Dillon and Marion counties to learn in ancient, dilapidated buildings while high school athletes in Spartanburg and York counties play on the most advanced athletic turf in state-of-the art stadiums.
First, we wonder why she waited until her third year in office to focus on education reform. Did her interest grow because her likely Democrat opponent next year, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen of Camden, has made expanding 4-year-old kindergarten a major campaign issue? - Herald Online, 8/9/13
Sheheen's making the right call making small business owners a top demographic to win over and could be the key to his re-election success:If Sen. Vincent Sheheen is to make up the 60,000 votes by which he lost the governor’s race to Nikki Haley in 2010, he will have to expand his voter base.
Among the voters he will have to lure away from Haley are small business owners, who are often predisposed to voting against Democrats due to perceptions about tax policy.
On Monday, Sheheen spoke to a room full of such people at the Columbia Rotary. After an opening joke about the chaos that is South Carolina’s political scene, Sheheen went deep into criticisms of the Haley administration and then described what he would do to prevent the state from being near the bottom of the things that matter, like employment and education.
Sheheen blasted Haley for her handling of the Department on Revenue data security breach and for DHEC’s handling of the tuberculosis outbreak. “Right now, we have an administration that operates in secret. Their first instinct is to keep things from the public,” Sheheen said.
In a session with the media afterwards, Sheheen expanded on the point, ”Some people tend to be opaque and secretive, some administrations tend to be opaque and secretive. Why? I don’t know,” he said. “We’ve seen that (from Gov. Haley) since before she was governor.”
Sheheen stressed the importance of education to a growing economy and noted that the high-cost of public colleges is driving young people out of state, a talent exodus that makes the Palmetto State less attractive to employers. He noted that North Carolina government funds 50 percent of university budgets while South Carolina funds just 12 percent. - Columbia Patch, 7/22/13
Sheheen has also been making Haley's handling of the TB outbreak a big campaign issue:Sheheen is laying the foundation for his 2014 run this summer. This month, he spoke about health care to a senior center in Conway and visited with voters in Aiken, Greenwood and Anderson. He recently spoke about education at schools in Georgetown, Greenville and Beaufort.
Sheheen's argument to voters is they should be tired of South Carolina being a running joke to the rest of the nation. His speech included slides and maps with statistics that he says shows South Carolina college graduates are more likely to leave the state than their counterparts across the Southeast. He also said it is harder to move up economically in South Carolina than most of the country.
"Business people understand if we are going to move forward, we can't have a government that is a disaster, that is dysfunctional, that works in secret," Sheheen said.
If Haley and Sheheen face each other in 2014, each will try to court small business owners like the ones at Monday's meeting. Haley has touted the reduction in unemployment under her administration and continually promises business owners she will reduce the amount of regulation and cut their taxes. - Trib Town, 7/22/13
Sheheen's also been painting Haley's administration as one that lacks serious transparency:DHEC is not a cabinet agency, but Sheheen said Haley is responsible for it because she appointed its director, Catherine Templeton, and the agency's board. He pointed out Haley was also slow to put responsibility for the stolen data from the Department of Revenue on its director, who eventually stepped down.
"Agency heads that have major dysfunctions in their offices, they should be fired, not coddled," Sheheen said. - Trib Town, 7/22/13
Sheheen's approach is to get the voters to ask themselves, "is Nikki Haley corrupt or incompetent?"Sheheen gave a strongly worded speech to the Columbia, S.C. Rotary Club this week – blistering Haley on a wide range of issues.
“Right now, we have an administration that operates in secret,” Sheheen said. “Their first instinct is to keep things from the public. People’s tax information was stolen, and the governor kept it secret for two weeks before telling the public. There’s a secret report in the governor’s office detailing what happened with the hacking, but the public can’t read it. We’ve seen the destruction of emails, the purposeful use of non-government email accounts and cell phones so the public can’t know what’s going on. And of course, DHEC kept information about a TB outbreak in Greenwood secret for months, and now dozens of children have tested positive for TB. That’s just wrong.”
That’s also just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Haley’s incompetence … and hypocrisy. - FITS News, 7/22/13
Now Sheheen's campaigning hasn't been all about attacking Haley. As Governor, Sheheen wants to create a green South Carolina:Sheheen’s comments, plus his maneuvering during the latest legislative session, make his strategy clear: The Camden Democrat is placing all of his chips on running against Haley’s record as governor.
“A fundamental part of this governor’s race has to be about accountability and responsibility,” Sheheen told The State newspaper. “What we haven’t seen for a decade — and certainly not in the last three years — is accountability for the failures of state government.”
In Conway, and elsewhere across the state in his public appearances, Sheheen has hit the governor hard on the cyber-security breach at the Department of Revenue, where hackers stole the personal information of 6.4 million consumers. - The State, 7/23/13
Sheheen been laying out the attacks and details for a little while now and he hasn't been holding back. He's been charming and tough and has been expressing a real vision for South Carolina's future. This is a guy who really wants to be Governor and has had enough of what Haley's been doing to his state. His passion and vision are helping him fuel an enthusiastic campaign. Now of course, The South Carolina GOP thinks it has an issue that can sink Sheheen's campaign; Obamacare:Sheheen, a Camden Democrat who plans to run for governor next year, said South Carolina could produce thousands of jobs by embracing new forms of energy and allowing the alternative power industry to expand.
But South Carolina has no comprehensive plan for energy conservation and efficiency, nor is it doing enough to encourage clean energy expansion, Sheheen told several hundred people at a conference in Columbia.
“Right now, there is a vacuum of leadership in those areas,” Sheheen said. He did not mention Republican Gov. Nikki Haley in his speech, but said later that leadership on energy policy starts in the governor’s office.
“We certainly haven’t seen any big ideas on clean energy and how to keep our dollars and our jobs in South Carolina,” he told reporters.
Sheheen, an opponent of drilling for oil off South Carolina beaches, made his remarks as interest in renewable power grows in a state that historically has shunned sun, wind and biomass in favor of coal and nuclear.
South Carolina is among the least friendly states in the country for solar power, even though it has plenty of sunshine, according to national renewable energy scorecards. That has kept homeowners from being able to afford the high upfront prices of sun panels that otherwise could cut their power bills.
Renewable power takes less of a toll on the environment because certain forms, such as solar and wind, do not release toxic pollutants, greenhouse gases or create nuclear waste. But renewable energy’s biggest appeal, say its advocates, is lower monthly power bills for the average customer – particularly since South Carolina is a poor state with some of the highest average electricity rates in the South.
The state also has “one of the most energy inefficient housing stocks in America,” Sheheen said, noting that many low-income residents can’t afford to pay for energy efficiency improvements on their homes.
He recounted the story of a man in rural South Carolina who he learned is paying more than $400 per month for electricity, even though the man lives in a small trailer. That’s about the amount Sheheen, a lawyer, said he pays monthly to heat and light his 3,000-square-foot house in Kershaw County.
If the mobile home could be made more energy efficient, those power bills might go down, Sheheen said at the S.C. Clean Energy Summit, which attracted several hundred renewable energy entrepreneurs, utility executives and others. - The State, 7/11/13
Here's a little background info:This week, the S.C. Republican Party (SCGOP) launched the first of what we suspect will be many salvos from many directions over Sheheen’s boneheaded decision. Seizing on a report from the S.C. Department of Insurance (SCDOI) showing rising health care premiums in the Palmetto State associated with Obamacare’s implementation, the SCGOP issued a press release decrying the “Obama-Sheheen health care disaster” and the “Obama-Sheheen health care takeover.”
“Vince Sheheen has spent four years supporting Obamacare, and now the people of South Carolina are stuck paying for it – to the tune of an insurance hike of up to 70 percent,” SCGOP chairman Matt Moore said in his party’s release.
Ah, “Obama-Sheheen.” The once and future Democratic gubernatorial nominee should probably get used to hearing that line again, and again and again (and again). - FITS News, 8/5/13
Here's why some pundits think Sheheen made the wrong call in taking his party's stance on the Medicaid expansion:South Carolina should accept an estimated $2 billion in money under the federal health care act to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of additional working poor in the state, State Sen. Vincent Sheheen said Thursday.
"I call on Gov. (Nikki) Haley and every Democrat and every Republican to heed the example of other states and provide leadership that will mean more tax dollars in South Carolina that belong to South Carolinians," the Camden Democrat said.
Sheheen, who held his news conference on the horseshoe of the Medical University of South Carolina, is mentioned as a candidate for governor in a rematch next year against Haley, who defeated him in 2010.
Sheheen has said he has been weighing what effect the Medicaid expansion might have. He said the state should go ahead and accept the federal money for the first three years. Then, he said, the state should review whether it makes financial sense to continue.
Under the health care act, Washington pays for the first three years of the Medicaid expansion. After that, the state picks up 10 percent of the cost. - Independent Mail, 3/7/13
Ok, I can see how you would think that would be a valid argument. Be in favor of the idea but against the execution. FITS News thinks Sheheen should've gone to the right of his party on Medicaid expansion like in Arkansas but Arkansas' model of the Medicaid expansion won't work for South Carolina:S.C. Senator Vincent Sheheen (D-Camden) made a critical tactical error earlier this year in endorsing the Medicaid expansion associated with Barack Obama’s socialized medicine plan. In fact Sheheen’s fateful decision could cost him his chance to defeat S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley in next year’s rematch of their 2010 gubernatorial race.
Allow us to explain: Given the extent to which Haley – a “Republican” – has been ballooning the state’s Medicaid rolls since taking office, Sheheen had a golden opportunity to get to the “right” of the governor on a critical spending issue. And he could have done so while telling his Democratic base he was still committed to “responsible Medicaid expansion.” - FITS News, 8/5/13
Plus expanding Medicaid in general is popular, especially in the deep South:“If Republicans are for this plan, I don’t know what exactly they were against before,” says Tony Keck, who runs South Carolina’s Medicaid program. “It covers the same number of people, with the same benefits and is more expensive. I have a hard time understanding what it is that some of these Republican legislators like about that.”
As South Carolina’s Medicaid director, Keck has long opposed the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. He wrote a piece for Wonkblog about this right after the Supreme Court decision, in which he argued that accepting the additional federal dollars was unlikely to improve the health of South Carolinians.
Keck is a bit of a countervailing voice in the Republican party right now. Staunch opponents of the law, including Maine Gov. Paul LePage, have shown some interest in the Arkansas option. They like the idea of moving low-income people out of the public insurance program and into the individual marketplace, where they would shop for private plans like other, subsidized state residents.
Keck argues that there’s no reason to favor this version of the expansion, if you oppose the concept of the Medicaid expansion. In an interview Monday, I had him explain why.
To start, Keck goes back to his philosophical argument about the Medicaid expansion. If the current health insurance system doesn’t help people get healthier, why should we expect a bigger version of the program to do better?
“We’re opposed to spending way too much money, in general, on a health-care system where we get way too little in return,” Keck says. “I’d rather focus on getting more value for our dollars, and improving the system, rather than just making the system bigger.”
Let’s say, though, that a Republican governor does disagree with Keck. He thinks there is value in bringing more Medicaid dollars into the state, even if it means some additional state spending on the program. In that situation, Keck argues that buying private insurance is one of the worst ways to use those extra funds.
“It’s Medicaid but more expensive and complicated,” Keck says. “There’s no other way to look at it.” - Washington Post, 4/3/13
Over 60 percent of the Americans living in the Deep South support Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, according to the results from a new poll that surveyed a broad sample of people in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.And the temporary Medicaid expansion in South Carolina is already taking place:
The poll, conducted between March and April by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, found that support for Medicaid expansion is somewhat divided along partisan lines. Nevertheless, a solid majority of residents in each of the five Deep South states favor expanding the public insurance program to extend coverage to additional uninsured Americans:That public support stands in sharp contrast to the five states’ political leaders, who have resisted cooperating with health care reform at any cost. The GOP governors in each of those Southern states — Govs. Robert Bentley (R-AL), Nathan Deal (R-GA), Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Phil Bryant (R-MS), and Nikki Haley (R-SC) — have refused to expand their Medicaid programs.
“This survey clearly shows that governors and state legislators in the South who are resisting the Medicaid expansion are out-of-step with their constituents,” Brian D. Smedley, the director of the Joint Center’s Health Policy Institute, pointed out. - Think Progress, 5/22/13
Of course Republicans are going to spend big to lie about Sheheen and scare people out of supporting the idea of fully expanding Medicaid to take the focus off of Haley's awful record as Governor. But Sheheen isn't going to let her dupe voters and neither should we. There's nothing sweeter than beating a Republican on their home turf and we just happen to have an excellent candidate in Vincent Sheheen. If you would like to donate or get involved with Sheheen's campaign, you can do so here:The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) has approved BlueChoice® HealthPlan Medicaid's request to expand its Medicaid managed care coverage area to include Horry County.
Starting Aug. 15, Medicaid-eligible residents of Horry County may select BlueChoice® Medicaid as their coverage option for traditional Medicaid services and the many additional benefits offered by BlueChoice.
Enrollees will have access to BlueChoice Medicaid's extensive provider network, which in Horry County includes 95 primary care and 268 specialty care providers as well as four area hospitals — Conway Medical Center, Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, McLeod Loris Hospital and McLeod Seacoast Hospital.
"BlueChoice Medicaid has worked hard to develop a network of quality health care providers in Horry County. We look forward to serving eligible Horry County residents who want better coordination of care, as well as extras such as a 24-hour nurse line and wellness programs," said Scott Graves, president and COO of BlueChoice HealthPlan.
SCDHHS administers the state's Medicaid managed care program. Residents who establish Medicaid eligibility with the agency may elect to receive their benefits through a managed care plan offered by a private sector company such as BlueChoice. - WBTW News 13, 8/5/13