Lee Bright: Meltdown Countdown

It’s official: S.C. Sen. Lee Bright has emerged as the initial “anti-Graham,” or “conservative alternative” to incumbent U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (RINO-S.C.) in next year’s contested GOP Senate primary race in South Carolina. We say not out of any affinity for Bright (although we love his voting record) but based…

It’s official: S.C. Sen. Lee Bright has emerged as the initial “anti-Graham,” or “conservative alternative” to incumbent U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (RINO-S.C.) in next year’s contested GOP Senate primary race in South Carolina. We say not out of any affinity for Bright (although we love his voting record) but based instead on Bright’s early show of grassroots strength and his positioning just ahead of Graham’s other challengers in early Palmetto State polling.

And while none of Graham’s challengers have made much of a dent in fundraising (in contrast to Graham’s special interest-fed $7 million war chest), Bright brought in roughly as much last quarter as Nancy Mace – the Lowcountry businesswoman who is viewed as the most electable alternative to Graham.

So … will Bright maintain this “anti-Graham” status as this election moves into its next phase?

We don’t think so.

First, Bright has been putting off (for months now) a financial disclosure report that many believe will sink his candidacy.

How come? Because as this website has previously reported, Bright’s personal finances aren’t exactly in ship shape.

How bad are things? We’ll know by the end of the month … unless of course Bright is able to somehow gain another extension from the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Beyond this ticking time bomb, though, Bright also has a longer term issue to contend with: His credibility as a candidate. While no one doubts Bright’s commitment to pro-free market reforms (or the taxpayers), it’s the rest of the package that causes concerns regarding his electability. For example his judgmental brand of social conservatism – and some of his kookier public statements – have the potential to severely limit his potential appeal.

Don’t get us wrong, Bright has done an excellent job building a network of support for his Senate bid among South Carolina Tea Party groups – and has effectively built on his existing recognizability as a State Senator. He’s also acquitted himself well in early interviews and on the stump. Meanwhile Mace – his top opponent – has chosen to focus almost exclusively on fundraising up to this point in the race, selectively scheduling campaign stops and media appearances so that she can devote most of her time to making phone calls to prospective donors.

Mace supporters insist “dialing for dollars” is the only way to beat Graham, even as her critics have mocked her for running a “stealth grassroots campaign.”

So which bet – Bright’s aggressiveness on the stump or Mace’s monetary focus – will pay dividends?

We’ll find out soon … but our belief is that Bright’s early momentum (even if he survives his disclosure debacle later this month) is simply not sustainable.

UPDATE: Boom … 

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CNSYD December 12, 2013 at 9:59 am

“Nancy Mace – the Lowcountry businesswoman who is viewed as the most electable alternative to Graham.” Other than Sic Willie, who has this “view”?

Gillon December 12, 2013 at 10:14 am

Her close friends and relatives?

Glorious_Cause December 14, 2013 at 12:46 am

Sounds like Bright is in debt $3 million and Mace is involved with the website that falsely accused Haley of adultery.

Can we get a real candidate please?

Frank Pytel December 12, 2013 at 10:22 am


EJB December 12, 2013 at 12:12 pm


CorruptionInColumbia December 12, 2013 at 10:28 am


Elfego December 12, 2013 at 10:33 am


okay December 12, 2013 at 10:36 am

CNSYD – valid point. I think her associations and skeletons in her closet make her among the least electable candidates in the race…which says something, given the candidates.

TontoBubbaGoldstein December 12, 2013 at 10:53 am


Nölff December 12, 2013 at 11:26 am

<—- This guy

EJB December 12, 2013 at 12:14 pm

As the field stands today, if they all stay in it until the primary, she will get my vote and will have more votes than the others (excepting Graham, maybe)

nikki December 12, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Just the usual FITS robot assclowns. Although a few haven’t checked in yet.

Norma Scok December 12, 2013 at 1:56 pm

All 3 customers of her “company”.

Philip Branton December 12, 2013 at 2:43 pm

ME……….and 4000+ SPAWAR Atlantic workers who understand that no US Secretary of State goes into another country and declares “We Came, We Saw, and he DIED” while no South Carolina sitting Senator has the ballz to tell anyone what caused the Benghazi fiasco that got people KILLED…..!!!!

Matt December 12, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Lol, so true. Anywhere other then fitsnews people would say, Nancy who???????????????? Graham is going to win this primary in a landslide.

euwe max December 12, 2013 at 10:03 am

although we love his voting record


As a school board member, Bright called for teaching creationism in school science classes, *instead* of evolution.

During his tenure in the senate Bright has been accused of introducing “red meat” proposals; measures known to have little chance of success but that are introduced as publicity tactics to invigorate a key constituency.

Bright has been a strong opponent of abortion and has been a sponsor of the “Life Begins at Conception Act” for three years.

In 2011 Bright cast the lone “no” vote in the South Carolina senate against a measure that would allow early voting, explaining “I think people ought to vote on Election Day.”

Bright served as South Carolina chair of *Michele Bachmann’s* bid for the Republican nomination.

Bright quipped “If at first you don’t secede, try again.”

In 2010 Bright sponsored legislation that would make any firearm produced in the state exempt from federal regulations. Bright was one of six senators to oppose the bi-partisan “Boland Bill,” a bill that would prevent the mentally ill from owning firearms.

Bright is currently working through foreclosure proceedings brought against his company, On Time Trucking, by Capital Bank. A civil suit filed by the bank stated that On Time Trucking owed $318,000 in back mortgage payments.

“Vote for me – I’m Bright!”

SCBlueWoman December 12, 2013 at 10:48 am

He has the best high school education that money can buy.

Big R December 12, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Cobble together his lack of education and enormous debt and you got a dead man walking here. Surprised he stayed in this long.

TontoBubbaGoldstein December 12, 2013 at 10:54 am

Bright quipped “If at first you don’t secede, try again.”

You say that like it’s a bad thing.

euwe max December 12, 2013 at 11:08 am

I thought I’d be even-handed and put in a positive thing he said.

nitrat December 12, 2013 at 10:56 am

Another in the one-meaningless-political-gesture-after-another school of politics put forth by Mark Sanford…which way too many SCGOP voters still haven’t figured out.

carrie December 12, 2013 at 11:18 am

I still haven’t figured Mark Sanford out either. Is he getting married? Per ‘The State”, he and Belen were at a party recently and hardly anyone saw them. They are still trying not to be seen together in public.
What’s with them?

Nölff December 12, 2013 at 10:46 am

He needs time to launder his dirty money.

nitrat December 12, 2013 at 10:49 am

Those bulging eyes…I think that boy may have a thyroid problem.

Mouse December 12, 2013 at 12:41 pm

No one but Fits views Mace as “the most electable alternative.”

GamecocksForever December 12, 2013 at 12:44 pm

If there are some personal finance issues, that doesn’t bode well for his “fiscal conservatism” or his mantra of budget balancing, etc. Not to say he’s a terrible guy…we all make mistakes…but Graham will eat him alive with that.

Mace is right on the fundraising, but I’m just not convinced where she really is on the issues…nor am I convinced that she knows exactly where she is on the issues.

This race is still young. Connor and Cash are in it too. Connor’s only been in for a month…he’s playing catch up, but if Bright stumbles, he could emerge. I, admittedly, do like him, but I just want somebody to beat Graham…please!

TyronesMamaCollards December 12, 2013 at 1:14 pm

He always has a look on his face like he just heard a fart and cannot quite decide whether it’s his own fart or some one else’s.

RogueElephant December 12, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Capable of making an informed decision, Damn, he’s already more qualified than Graham.

SCBlueWoman December 12, 2013 at 10:46 pm

Um… no. Not really.

shifty henry December 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm

My Grandpa on his farm always said,
” The hen that lays the egg cackles first.”

M326 December 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm

My Grandpa (also on a farm) used to say, “it’s a foul wind that blows from the stockyard!” I still live by that.

cuvinny December 12, 2013 at 2:09 pm

No mention that Bright was in Oklahoma raising money for a SC race? He was also blowing the hell out of a dog whistle while there.

“We’ve got a lot of people who won’t work. And they won’t work because we’ll provide their food, and we’ll provide their housing and we’ll provide them their spending money and we’ll provide them their spending money,” Bright said at a fundraising event in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “We’ve all seen it, the folks in line who are using [food stamps], yet they’ve got the nicest nails and the nicest pocketbook and they get the nicest car.”

Godslayer December 12, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Lee Bright Ain’t.

Tetley December 12, 2013 at 7:50 pm

I just hope young Mr. Flintstone’s star doesn’t wink out before he has the chance to print some of that sovereign South Carolina currency. I would loves to get me some of that, yessir, and Bitcoins be damned.

Wonder if he’s floated an offer to pay off his debt to Capital One with “Sakerlina BrightBucks?”

Fuguhh December 12, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Bright wants to take out the greed machine at First Steps

I own some December 12, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Wonder if Lee Not So Bright can pay down that $1.5 million debt he owes with bitcoin?

kiddingbutnot December 12, 2013 at 11:36 pm

How much is Nancy paying you to write these stories?

Rep TJ December 13, 2013 at 1:45 am

Insert dumbass, play on words for “Bright” here. Hyuck…hyuck…

dude December 15, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Bright was not too bright to enter this race knowing he has that kind of debt. he would do the conservatives a service by withdrawing from the race. we don’t need another politician who only talks a good fiscal conservative game, but cannot walk the talk. while i don’t condemn him for trying his entrepreneurial talent, his failure as a business man does not qualify him for a political office.
or does it?


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