Would South Carolinians elect a governor facing gay rumors? The answer may already be out there.

Less than a week after rumors surfaced that André Bauer was gay, the professed straight guy and presumed gubernatorial candidate spent $15,000 on a telephone survey.

Unprompted, Bauer stated he wasn’t gay in a June interview with The State. On Aug. 31, Washington-based gay blogger Mike Rogers, who has outed anti-gay politicians in the past, claimed to have interviewed intimate sources and Rogers said he was convinced Bauer is gay.

The story lit a fire on the internet, but was mostly ignored by the mainstream media until Sept. 3, when state Sen. Jake Knotts released a letter to the rest of the Statehouse accusing Gov. Mark Sanford of creating the rumor. In an interview with the City Paper, Rogers dismissed that claim.

“Could there be some great orchestrated conspiracy to bullshit me? I guess,” Rogers said last month. “But it would have to involve people I’ve known for a long time. The possibility is almost nonexistent.”

Knotts’ comments led to national reports on CNN and other networks that had been hesitant to report Rogers’ claims when it was just on the internet.

On Sept. 9, Bauer hired Virginia-based Public Opinion Strategies for a telephone survey, according to newly released campaign disclosures.

It’s hard to say what answer Bauer was looking for in those calls, but it appears that he got it. He’s continued to unofficially campaign for the state’s top spot since then and his gubernatorial campaign is expected to officially kick off by the end of the month.