The Republican Governors Association is out with a new television commercial slamming South Carolina Democrat Vincent Sheheen's record as a trial lawyer, taking him to task for defending individuals charged with violent crimes.

"Sheheen defended violent criminals who abused women and went to work setting them free," says the narrator. "So next time Sheheen says he’ll protect women from violent criminals, ask him, what about the ones who paid him?"

The ad also says Sheheen, a state senator and candidate for governor, "got a sex offender out of jail time" and "defended a child abuser."

The Columbia State newspaper reported in March that as an attorney, Sheheen represented at least three men charged with criminal domestic violence since 2001. Responding to the RGA ad, a Sheheen campaign manager Andrew Whlaen told the State, "As a former prosecutor, Vincent has seen what families and victims go through and he has worked with law enforcement to hold criminals accountable and achieve justice."

Sheheen is challenging Gov. Nikki Haley (R) for the second time. He lost a close race to her in 2010.