A Charleston businessman and reality TV star has announced his plans to run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Lindsey Graham.
Thomas Ravenel, former state treasurer who resigned from office after his arrest on drug charges, announced his run Friday. He still must deliver 10,000 signatures from registered voters to state election officials by July 15 to get on the ballot.
He stopped in Greenville later in the day to attend the Red, White and Blue Festival.
En route to Greenville, Ravenel confirmed his run with The Greenville News.
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“I’ve always felt impelled to do this,” Ravenel said. “It’s not an act of self-aggrandizement; it’s more I feel it’s a duty.”
Ravenel said he wanted to run for the Senate seat because government has gotten too big and the country was headed towards a “doomsday scenario.”
He said he chose to run as an independent because he disagreed with both Republican and Democratic policies, and said both parties were “being co-opted by special interest groups.”
“I’m looking to give the American voter who sees these inconsistencies a choice,” he said. “Both parties are wrong. You get a false choice. I could vote for the party that represents the warfare state or I could vote for the party that represents the welfare state.”
Ravenel, son of former South Carolina congressman Arthur Ravenel, cited health care, foreign policy, Medicare and Medicaid policy and immigration as issues he would focus on.
He added that he would also fight to uphold a better checks and balances system within the government by standing up to policies like those allowing the president to appoint members of the judiciary.
“Were I the senator, I’d be up there right now filibustering those two appointees,” Ravenel said, referring to Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, both of whom were appointed by President Barack Obama.
As a candidate, Ravenel will appear on the ballot in November with three other candidates, including Graham, Democratic state Sen. Brad Hutto of Orangeburg, and Libertarian Victor Kocher of Columbia.
Campaigns for the other candidates could not be reached Friday.