(CNN) - In the Democrat's first television ad of the general election, South Carolina gubernatorial hopeful Vincent Sheehen is going full steam ahead with his message that a vote for Republican Nikki Haley is a vote for four more years of Gov. Mark Sanford.
"After eight years of Mark Sanford, we need a governor to lead us in a new direction," Sheheen says in the ad. "I stood up against Mark Sanford. Nikki Haley says she wants to follow in his footsteps. I say this time, we need a governor we can trust."
Haley was a top ally of Sanford's in the state House and entered the governor's race with the backing of his political allies, a troublesome association given Sanford's combative relationship with state legislators and his notorious admission of marital infidelity last summer.
Haley has said she will be more inclusive and less "reactionary" than Sanford in her approach to governing. Still, some establishment Republicans and business leaders have been reluctant to line up behind the Republican nominee – a fact Sheehen points out in his new ad by touting his endorsement from the state Chamber of Commerce.
Nevertheless, Sheehen, a state Senator, has an uphill battle in the conservative-leaning state and must win independents as well as peeling off a segment of GOP voters if he has any hopes of winning the governor's mansion.
Nowhere in the ad does Sheeheen mention his party affiliation, and the commercial pays tribute to values like "family, faith, life and hard work." He's also seen driving a pickup truck through his rural hometown of Camden.
Responding to the new ad, Haley's campaign sought to remind voters of that Sheheen is a Democrat.
"Sen. Sheheen is a nice man with a beautiful family, but his ad conveniently forgets to mention that he's a liberal trial lawyer who supports ObamaCare and thinks the president's massive Washington spending agenda is the way to create jobs in South Carolina," said Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey. "Nikki Haley disagrees."