After dropping out of the governor’s race and endorsing Democratic State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, independent candidate Tom Ervin said he and Sheheen do have their differences.
“I called out Senator Sheheen in the debates when I thought he was wrong. And we had a lively debate. It comes down now to who is going to be our next governor.” Ervin told Charleston affiliate WQSC on Friday.
He admitted during a separate interview with Greenwood station WCRS (also a SC Radio Network affiliate) that endorsing Sheheen was “the lesser of two evils.”
“If you look at Governor Haley’s stale record as governor, she is really not deserving of a second term,” he told WCRS’ Anne Eller. “So, for those reasons, I believe Senator Sheheen is the lesser of two evils, so to speak.”
Ervin said he did want to make a difference by running. “Had I not been in the race issues would not have been raised,” he said. “Like my plan to fix our crumbling road and bridges, my plan to cap college tuition for incoming freshmen to reduce their student loan debt, my plan to enact strong ethics reform.”
Ervin was polling a distant third when he dropped out on Tuesday, despite spending at least $2.5 million of his own money. He had been billing himself as an “independent Republican” after dropping out of the GOP Primary to campaign as a petition candidate for the November election.
The former Democratic legislator and judges said he entered the race at the last minute because he was upset about testimony concerning the South Carolina Department of Social Services mishandling cases where children under their purview had died from abuse and neglect.
He set out a path as a self-proclaimed “independent Republican” – calling for an end to the Common Core education standards while backing expanding Medicaid and raising the gas tax to help pay for road repairs.
Ervin cannot use the remaining $1.2 million in his campaign account to aid Sheheen’s bid to unseat Haley.
The Greenville attorney and radio station owner was a Democrat when he served in the S.C. House in the 1980s but switched parties to run unsuccessfully for a House seat in 2005.