S.C. Sen. Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg) has – much to our surprise – run a decent campaign for the U.S. Senate. He’s received a fair amount of early support from activists under the Tea Party umbrella, and he’s lobbed some effective grenades at incumbent liberal Lindsey Graham.
Now … that doesn’t make him any less of a moron, but the thing about Bright is that he’s (generally) been our kind of moron.
Course while we always knew Bright had a rock solid voting record on fiscal issues, some of his quirkier social views (and his irascible, often petty personality) gave us cause for alarm when it came to his viability as a statewide candidate.
Especially in what is (or should be) a national race.
So far, so good though … mostly. Now, does that mean Bright has emerged as the “anti-Graham” so many national conservatives are seeking?
No … in fact sources tell FITS a “major land mine” lies in Bright’s path, specifically his less-than-stellar personal financial history.
As we reported a month ago, Bright has not disclosed his personal financials to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) as required by law.
According to FEC rules, these reports are due no more than thirty days “after becoming a candidate for nomination.” The FEC grants “reasonable extensions” in the case of “extraordinary circumstances” – but there is a hard and fast limit on its patience.
“The total number of days for any extension granted for any one report may, not exceed 90 days under federal law,” the agency’s rulebook states.
For those of you keeping score at home, Bright formally declared his candidacy for the U.S. Senate on August 13 – which is 92 days ago. However he didn’t file his statement of candidacy (.pdf here) with the FEC until August 16 – which is 89 days ago.
In other words, tomorrow (November 14) would appear to be the last day Bright could file this required paperwork.
According to one source familiar with Bright’s financial history, his filing will be a “devastating event” for his campaign.
“Lee’s campaign is over once he files that document,” the source said, referring to a “litany” of bankruptcy and tax issues.
This website has written on Bright’s financial troubles in the past – noting that one of his companies owed more than $300,000 and was on the verge of going bankrupt.
However we didn’t hold these issues against him …
“Whatever Bright’s personal business issues are – and it appears pretty obvious at this point that he has some serious ones – businesses go under and declare bankruptcy every day (more often than ever these days),” we wrote. “There’s nothing wrong with that … and if Bright’s message team is good, they may be able to find a way to spin these troubles in his favor.”
Voters didn’t hold Bright’s financial issues against him either, as he was overwhelmingly reelected to the S.C. Senate last summer in a hotly contested Republican primary race.
But we don’t know everything about Bright’s financial situation … and there’s clearly something causing him to wait until the very last minute to divulge this information.
Is it a campaign ending land mine? Or is it merely an embarrassing revelation (or two) Bright’s team can explain away?
FITS reached out to Bright’s campaign for a comment on this story but did not immediately receive a response.
Guess we’ll find out what’s up soon enough …
Bright is one of four announced challengers to Graham. The others are Lowcountry businesswoman Nancy Mace, Upstate businessman (and former congressional candidate) Richard Cash and Orangeburg, S.C. attorney (and Afghan War veteran) Bill Connor.