South Carolina’s libertarian gubernatorial nominee is slamming his major party rivals for their abysmal record in defense of children.

Steve French – who announced his candidacy earlier this year – says both Vincent Sheheen and Nikki Haley are contributing to the Palmetto State’s dismal performance on children’s issues. Specifically, his campaign singled out Sheheen’s defense of sex offenders and the rash of issues at Haley’s Department of Social Services (SCDSS).

“Steve French is the only candidate that’s safe for children,” campaign spokesman Colin Ross said in a statement. “Sheheen has no problem negotiating a sex offender’s sentence from ten years to thirty-eight days and Nikki Haley’s DSS returned Robert Guinyard Jr back to his parent after fourteen separate cases of abuse which ended in tragedy with this four-year-old boy’s death.”

Ross says “protecting the innocent is one of the few things Steve thinks the government should do and the state is failing,” citing a Kids Count study showing South Carolina ranking No. 45 nationally in overall child well-being.

“This is completely unacceptable and must change now,” Ross said. “One of the major reasons Steve is running is because he wants to make the world a better place for his five-month-old son, Charles. As a parent he finds this personally offensive and will fight hard to protect the most vulnerable in our state.

Ross added that “South Carolina needs to change directions now before more kids get hurt.”