[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/23/art.sheheen.sfg.jpg caption ="South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen has added a veteran campaigner to his staff."]
(CNN) - South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen is bringing on a veteran political hand to help steer his campaign against Republican Nikki Haley, multiple Democrats in the state told CNN Friday.
Sheheen has hired Tim Shock, who managed the successful 1998 campaign of Jim Hodges, the last Democrat to hold the South Carolina governor's mansion. Hodges was unseated in 2002 by Mark Sanford.
State and national Democrats are increasingly confident about Sheheen's chances. The state Senator has courted the business community while also working to exploit a rift between Haley and establishment Republicans anxious about her fiscally conservative agenda.
A national Democratic official told CNN that Shock will bring an air of seriousness to the campaign.
"He's an old horse but really knows his way around campaigns," the official said. "He isn't too flashy but will ensure Sheheen has a professional and structurally solid campaign."
Democrats familiar with the race insisted that the hiring was not a campaign shake-up, but simply an effort to staff up ahead of a competitive race.
"Due to the tremendous amount of support that Sen. Sheheen received after his resounding primary victory, the truth is, we have doubled our staff from the primary," campaign manager Trav Robertson told CNN when asked about the addition.
"We are doing the best we can to address the issues that concern South Carolinians in as timely a manner as possible," he said. "The growth of our campaign simply reflects the success of Sen. Sheheen's message."
Haley's campaign, meanwhile, mocked the hire.
"It's no surprise to see a career politician from a family of career politicians hire a career political insider to run his campaign," said Haley communications director Rob Godfrey.