Polls show the race for governor in South Carolina tightening, and political scientists said it could be close come Election Day.
Both Republican Nikki Haley and Democrat Vincent Sheheen campaigned in Rock Hill on Friday afternoon. It was the second visit to Rock Hill for both candidates.
Rep. Haley visited the York County GOP headquarters office, while Sheheen, a state senator from Camden, met with supporters at a downtown restaurant.
Winthrop University political scientist Scott Huffmon told Eyewitness News that Sheheen has gained ground in the last month. The key, he said, has been formerly undecided voters who are now backing him.
"Sheheen is within striking distance. A lot of folks who were undecided in early polls are now coming in behind him. Haley is still ahead, but the race is clearly tightening," Huffmon said.
Sheheen's two biggest problems, according to Huffmon, are his still-lagging name recognition and the national trend away from the Democrats during this midterm election year. However, in conservative South Carolina, Sheheen's moderate stance on issues is helping him.
"A Democrat really has to run with two identities in South Carolina, saying, ‘I'm a conservative on these issues, but this is where I differ from the Republican candidate,’” Huffmon said.
Some recent polls show Haley's support has remained flat, while Sheheen's has grown. Haley, a state representative from Lexington, enjoyed a large, double-digit lead throughout much of the summer.
However, Huffmon said he still expects Haley to be elected South Carolina's next governor in just 25 days.
“The edge still goes to Haley, but Sheheen is not a dark horse, no-chance candidate by any stretch," he said.