Today marks the first day of the general election and after three and a half years of failures, scandals and cover-ups, Nikki Haley has proven she can’t be trusted to do her job well or be honest with the people when things go wrong. With just five months remaining, the sitting governor remains highly vulnerable while Sen. Vincent Sheheen continues to pick up ground.

Nikki Haley has been an utter failure for South Carolina and has consistently reacted to major problems with cover-ups and secrecy instead of honesty and accountability.  Look at the pattern:

Children Dying Due to Mismanagement at Dept of Social Services

COVER-UP: GOP Senator: Haley Staffers Tried to Quash DSS Investigation. “’They said it looked embarrassing the way it was reported,’ Shealy says… ‘They were mad at me. It was obvious that I was being fussed at,’ she continues. ‘I think it was to see if I could be intimidated into calling [the subcommittee’s hearings] off. That’s how it felt.’” [Free Times, 4/30/14]

NO ACCOUNTABILITYHaley defended embattled director for months, amid continued failures and additional children’s deaths. “Sadly, it seems that the director has failed to deliver straightforward answers to important questions. And at this point, with information emerging about preventable deaths, unreasonable case loads and an unwillingness to cooperate with coroners after DSS children die, Ms. Koller should no longer be given the benefit of the doubt… Covering up systemic problems certainly makes reform elusive. How do you repair DSS using misleading numbers?” [Post & Courier, 5/30/14]

PROBLEMS PERSIST: “To leave DSS in the condition it is in, when we know children are dying and resources are too few, would be grossly negligent.” [The State, 5/8/14] “‘Now that (Koller) resigned, that does not mean our subcommittee doesn’t have questions about the data.’” [The State,6/2/14]

Dept. of Revenue Hacking that Stole Millions of People’s Social Security Numbers

COVER-UP: Governor Haley’s administration allowed and then covered-up the hacking of 6.4 million consumers and businesses’ tax information for more than two weeks. A computer chief at the S.C. Department of Revenue did not heed warnings about cyber-security shortcomings at that state agency before hackers stole personal financial data belonging to 6.4 million consumers and business, a former agency employee told lawmakersThursday. [The State, 1/4/13]

NO ACCOUNTABILITY: Haley allowed failed DOR chief to linger on until her hand was forced. “She demurred when asked if she was holding anyone within her administration responsible, after declarations following an earlier breach of a state computer system that heads would roll if there was another.” [Greenville News, 10/27/12]

PROBLEMS PERSIST: 18 months after breach, SC agencies still have no consistent security plan. “Nearly 18 months after hackers stole financial information belonging to 6.4 million S.C. taxpayers and businesses, state agencies still have no consistent plan for securing data, officials told a state Senate hearing Tuesday.” [The State, 4/2/14]

Vincent Sheheen is an honest and respected leader with a history of working across the aisle to improve transparency and get things done. He has worked to hold government leaders accountable when Nikki Haley would not. Look at the pattern:

Sheheen: DSS needs more, better trained case workers and whistle-blower protections. “Sheheen’s plan includes pushing for more state money for the Department of Social Services in the state budget, which now resides in the Senate. If elected governor, Sheheen also would ask for an agency-wide audit of Social Services.” [The State, 4/15/14]

Sheheen: Governor’s Abuse of Power is Impeding DSS Investigation. “State senator and gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen is calling for a special committee with subpoena power to investigate, what he calls an apparent abuse of power by Governor Nikki Haley and her staff.” [WACH,5/1/14]

Sen. Vincent Sheheen calls on Gov. Nikki Haley to fire DSS Director Lillian Koller. “Reports of another child’s death in Richland County triggered a renewed call for the firing of the Department of Social Services director by gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen on Tuesday.” [Post & Courier,4/30/14]

Sheheen creates Taxpayer Protection Fund to help hacking victims. “Kershaw Co. Senator Vincent Sheheen and State Treasurer Curtis Loftis want to go one step ahead to help victims from last fall’s hack at the state Department of Revenue… A proposed $200,000 taxpayer protection fund would pay victims who suffered a direct financial loss.” [WACH, 5/14/13]

Sheheen: People Deserve to See Full Hacking Report. “Democratic Sen. Vincent Sheheen tried Thursday to force Republican Gov. Nikki Haley’s administration to release the full report on how millions of taxpayers’ personal data was stolen in 2012, saying people deserve to know.” [AP, 5/13/14]

Governor Haley will continue run as a “jobs governor” – but the state of South Carolina’s workers and businesses tell a different story than what Haley touts:

Associated Press: Announced Jobs Fail to Materialize. “South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley touts that more than 40,000 jobs have been announced during her tenure, but no one can say how many of those planned jobs have become reality. Many employers won’t fill those jobs for years. Some plans will simply fall through – and already have in at least three cases.” [AP, 1/5/14]

Associated Press: Haley’s Jobs Figures “Overstated and Easily Misinterpreted.” “South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley is boasting about job numbers in speeches and interviews, repeatedly saying she’s thrilled about the 10,000 jobs announced since she took office in January. A close look at the number shows that Haley’s tally is both overstated and easily misinterpreted.” [Associated Press, 7/17/11]

Staggering declines in labor participation as people give up looking for jobs. “While the state’s unemployment rate has dropped from 8.2 percent to 6.4 percent over the last year, about half of the drop is attributable to a significantly smaller labor force, he said.” [Greenville News, 3/18/14]

Wages stagnant as households make less money than before recession. “South Carolina has seen a greater drop in real income than most states during the past dozen years, according to a Census Bureau report released Thursday morning…In the Palmetto State, median household income plunged by 10.9 percent from 2000 through 2012. Only eight states saw a larger decline in household incomes.” [Post & Courier, 9/19/13]

And don’t forget, Nikki Haley has been missing in action for the past three years on the issues that South Carolinians care most about:

Nikki Haley’s veto pen has hit education hardest. “Of the nearly 200 budget vetoes Gov. Nikki Haley has issued during her three years as governor, no government service has been struck more than public education. A review of the governor’s budget vetoes shows the first-term Republican has vetoed $110 million worth of public education programs and services since 2011, vetoes that account for more than a quarter of the $419 million she has vetoed in state spending since 2011.” [The State, 6/27/13]

Nikki Haley is depending on a ‘Money Tree’ to pay to fill potholes. “Gov. Nikki Haley wants to fund road and bridge construction in South Carolina through tax collections that aren’t yet projected….Haley says that ‘money tree’ could provide more than $1.3 billion over the next decade through taxes and bonds.” [AP, 1/13/14]

Ed Board to Haley: “Just being more forthcoming than Sanford is not good enough.” “Haley campaigned as a reformer who would be open and above-board with the public. Instead, she often has been secretive and elusive about her daily activities…. Just being more forthcoming than Sanford is not good enough.” [Rock Hill Herald, 12/11/13]

In conclusion:

Whether it’s putting people and children at risk due to incompetence, covering-up major failings, or distorting her own record, South Carolinians just can’t trust Nikki Haley. And they know it.

Vincent Sheheen has a vision to move South Carolina forward and the record of leadership and accountability to back up his pledges.

So, with just five months to go at this start of the General Election, this race is extremely close and Nikki Haley is on notice. South Carolinans are ready for new, honest leadership and real accountability and that’s exactly how they are poised to vote come November.

Read this memo online, here or at SCDP’s website, here.

(Editor’s Note: The above communication is a news release and does not necessarily reflect the editorial position of To submit your letter, news release, email blast, media advisory or issues statement for publication, click here).