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Candidates silent on schedules

While both major-party candidates for governor say they will release a daily schedule if elected, they are not giving out their daily schedules now.

That makes it difficult for the public and the media to know where Republican Nikki Haley and Democrat Vincent Sheheen are every day and what they are up to while on the campaign trail.

South Carolinians saw last year what can happen when the public and media is unable to keep tabs on an elected official. Gov. Mark Sanford, who did not release a schedule for the majority of his time in office, slipped away last summer for five days to visit his lover in Argentina, unbeknownst to his staff and fellow lawmakers.

Sheheen's campaign said Thursday that running for office is different from being governor and it is not appropriate to share all of a candidate's schedule from the campaign trail.

"Any campaign person worth his or her salt can determine what their opponent's strategy is based on their schedule and where they go," said Trav Robertson, Sheheen's campaign manager. "Campaign schedules are an integral part of the campaign strategy."

Robertson said the Sheheen campaign does send out news releases about many of its public events but added it would be nearly impossible to give an accurate daily schedule.

"We readjust and change the schedule all day long, every day," he said. "It's not like being the governor, where you've got a set schedule. Our schedule changes constantly."

Haley's campaign said it releases a lot of details, too.

"Campaign schedules, especially when you get this close to an election, are fluid, but as we nail down details of Nikki's public events, we release them," said Rob Godfrey, Haley's spokesman. "We put out advisories, post events on our website, and release information on Facebook and Twitter."

Because of the tough economy, both candidates have spent a lot of time during this campaign raising money, sometimes out of state.

The media has not been alerted to these out-of-state trips, which sometimes involve fundraising meetings with groups not in particular favor with S.C. voters.

Sheheen has taken two out-of-state trips -- to Washington, D.C., and Charlotte, N.C., Robertson said.

Haley has visited nine states according to her campaign, including trips to New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

Advocates for open government, including the S.C. Press Association, say they are not concerned about the candidates' lack of transparency at this point.

But they hope there is more openness after the Nov. 2 election, when one of candidates is the governor-elect.

"It's important that the public know where the governor is," said Bill Rogers, director of the association.

"That's of public interest."