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Thomas Ravenel Submits 17K Signatures




Lowcountry businessman, reality television star and former statewide official Thomas Ravenel has a new title … U.S. Senate candidate.

Ravenel – the star of Bravo television’s Southern Charm  show – submitted more than 17,000 signatures to the S.C. Election Commission (SCEC) this week.  Assuming at least 10,000 of those signatures are valid, Ravenel’s name will appear on the November ballot alongside “Republican” U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democrat Brad Hutto.

“When it comes to their voice in the U.S. Senate South Carolinians no longer have to make the false choice between the warfare state and the welfare state – between crony capitalists and bureaucratic apologists,” Ravenel said. “Before I filed these signatures, voters had to choose between a guy who wants to take most of their wallet and all of their liberties and a guy who wants to take all of their wallet and most of their liberties.”

“Now they can vote for someone who will protect both – advancing prosperity and freedom for all no matter their age, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation,” Ravenel added.

Ravenel said his signatures were collected by professionals and volunteers – and represented “all forty-six counties in the Palmetto State.”

The candidate – clad in a dress shirt with no jacket or tie – carried one of the petition boxes into the commission headquarters himself, surrounded by a throng of reporters.

Graham – a fiscal liberal with a lengthy record of betraying individual liberty – won 56 percent of the “Republican” vote in a low-turnout primary election a month ago.  He was expected to cruise to reelection in November, but the emergence of Ravenel on the scene has jeopardized those plans.  Not only could Ravenel cut into Graham’s support amongst “Republican” voters, he’s likely to appeal to broad swaths of independent voters who classify themselves as fiscal conservatives and social libertarians.

Ravenel’s candidacy was blasted by Graham’s party, which referred to him as an “embarrassment.”

Democrats took a different tack.

“We welcome anyone with serious ideas to the race and look forward to debating the issues that matter,” Hutto campaign manager Lachlan McIntosh said. “Lindsey Graham loves being a Washington big shot but he’s lost touch with folks in South Carolina. It appears voters will have several choices with whom to replace him with come November.”

The SCEC will send Ravenel’s signatures to the forty-six county commissions for verification – a process that could take up to one month.

UPDATE: Looks like several Republican leaders in South Carolina have decided to back Ravenel, not Graham.