COLUMBIA, SC — When Dave Feliciano showed up at the State House in a dress shirt and jeans to meet with three suited veteran GOP politicians challenging U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham on Thursday, The Buzz knew the Spartanburg cop who quit his job to run for office might bring a different take to the campaign.
Boy, did he.
Speaking during a news conference where he, state Sen. Lee Bright, Orangeburg attorney Bill Connor and Easley businessman Richard Cash all pledged to back each other if one of them reached a run-off against fellow Republican Graham, Feliciano called the senator "ambiguously gay."
Graham's foes might not agree with the senator's politics, but this is not a place where they wanted to go. After the news conference, Cash could be seen gesturing pointedly while speaking to Feliciano, who no longer was least known of all senator's challengers.
As his comments became national news, Feliciano sent out a statement Thursday evening. There was no back tracking by the political newcomer.
Here is what Feliciano had to say under the headline, "U.S. Senate Candidate stands by his statement and gives strong message to fellow candidates!":
First off I stand by my comment. I will not apologize.
Youre right I came off as a bit insensitive but it got your attention. It should have, there is more at stake here then a job. Lindsey Graham confirmed two judges that will continue the abortion holocaust in America for years to come.
As far as respect for the man, not going to happen here. He has millions of lives that will be lost because of his incompetence. And for what, so he can look pretty in Washington.
Next, my fellow opponents who so quickly threw me under the bus. It is time for you guys to man up. Lindsey is wiping the floor with you in this campaign. Stop trying to look good for the cameras and begin to fight.
This idea of trying to become the first loser is ridiculous. Stand up and LEAD!! Thats what leaders do, and if they are going in the right direction people will follow.
When I say I will end Abortion in South Carolina I mean it. When you are on the streets and in a fight you do whatever you can to win. There are millions upon millions of babies out there that cannot fight for themselves and it is going to take a tough man to make it stop.
People are right that I havent raised much money and I dont really know how to campaign well. Im not a politician. Most likely my campaign will end at the end of this month and I will go back to serving the citizens of this amazing state.
For the candidates who do progress it is going to take a lot more to lead this fight then what Ive seen so far. I pray one of you will take that mantle and lead.
But more importantly just be yourself. People are tired of the stuffed suits that do nothing.
And finally to Mr. Cash, lighten up dude. Its not that big a deal. Enjoyed the press conference today and I wish everyone well."
More (and less controversial) Senate race news
• Charleston PR executive Nancy Mace announced the launching of her first television ad in her bid to oust Graham. (She and Columbia pastor Det Bowers did not join the pledge to back the Graham challenger who lands in a run-off.)
• Cash has launched a radio ad in his campaign.
• Graham is serving up free food and ice cream at campaign events in Beaufort County this weekend. He is hosting a free Lowcountry Boil at the Q on Bay Restaurant in Beaufort on Friday night. On Saturday, Graham will meet with Sun City Hilton Head residents and then hold an ice cream social at The Ice Cream Cone on Hilton Head Island.
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