State Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D-Camden) has his first television ad up and it’s promoting his effort to get Gov. Mark Sanford to take the stimulus cash — federal aid that temporarily slowed the state’s bleeding budget.

Sheheen doesn’t have the nomination yet, but he’s the likely frontrunner in the three-man race with state Education Superintendent Jim Rex (who is struggling to find the money to run an effective campaign) and state Sen. Robert Ford (who is still talking about video poker).

This may be the last time that the stimulus is a campaign issue in this race. Attorney General Henry McMaster, Congressman Gresham Barrett, and Lt. Gov. André Bauer said earlier this year that they would have taken the money. And the “voted for it before she voted against it” problem makes the issue too complicated for state Rep. Nikki Haley to make a good argument about stimulus spending.

Sheheen’s tagline of “A new generation of leadership” is important to note, considering the age difference between himself and his primary opponents. It could be a theme that he can carry on into the general election if McMaster is the Republican candidate.

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