SC Politics

Ralph Norman: One Political Chameleon To Challenge Another?

A “shape-shifter” primary for United States Senate?

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Conventional wisdom in Palmetto politics has long held that congressman Ralph Norman – who has represented South Carolina’s fifth district in the U.S. House of Representatives since June 2017 – would be running for governor in 2026.

Norman is a wealthy real estate developer/ crony capitalist who fashions himself as a leader of the S.C. Freedom Caucus. In fact, he has been billed as the caucus’ prospective gubernatorial nominee – even though he has routinely lacked the courage of his convictions in Washington, D.C.

This week, though, Norman threw the 2026 campaign calculus for a loop when he announced on a phone call with a reporter that he was going to challenge incumbent “Republican” U.S. senator Lindsey Graham instead.

Referring to Graham, Norman said he was “gonna run against him” on the call, according to Mica Soellner of Punchbowl News.

Ever the flip-flopper, though, Norman quickly clarified his comment saying he was “highly considering” running against Graham.

“I’m tired of Lindsey,” Norman said on the call, according to Soellner. “He’s the one who got us into this spending spree.”

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Well, Graham and a lot of other so-called “Republicans” – including his friend of convenience, former U.S. president Donald Trump – got us into this spending spree.

First elected to the Senate in 2002, Graham received only token GOP opposition in 2020 – yet he still managed to underperform in that primary election. That fall, Graham received his first credible general election opponent – although the death of liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg nationalized the election and afforded Graham a starring (albeit hypocritical) role in the confirmation of new U.S. supreme court justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Thanks to those developments, Graham wound up trouncing Democratic nominee Jaime Harrison – drawing 54.4 percent of the vote to Harrison’s 44.2 percent.

As for Norman, he narrowly won a GOP primary to fill the seat vacated by former Trump chief of staff Mick Mulvaney – and then narrowly survived a Democratic challenge in the June 2017 special election.

Every six years there is talk of Graham facing a challenger from the right, but the reckless warmonger and unrepentant fiscal liberal always seems to find a way to wriggle off the hook.

(Click to View)

Lindsey Graham (Twitter)

Would Norman be a better option? It’s hard to imagine this seat occupied by a less consistent “Republican,” but Norman has given Graham a run for his money when it comes to being an opportunistic political weather vane. For example, he was all about opposing California moderate Kevin McCarthy‘s bid for speaker of the House earlier this year – until it was clear such a move would guarantee for him a well-funded primary challenger.

That prompted Norman to flip-flop and support McCarthy – even though he previously said he would sooner “vote for Mickey Mouse” for speaker.

McCarthy also adopted conflicting views in the aftermath of the January 6, 2021 rioting at the U.S. Capitol. Publicly, he endorsed “a peaceful transition” of power to the administration of Joe Biden. Privately, he urged former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to convince Trump to impose “Marshall Law” on the country.

(W)e are at a point of no return in saving our Republic!!” Norman wrote in his text message to Meadows. “Our LAST HOPE is invoking Marshall Law!! PLEASE URGE TO PRESIDENT TO DO SO!!”

Assuming Norman ultimately decides to run against Graham, we might as well call this the “shape-shifter” primary – because both of these politicians will put on clinics as chameleons.

I’ve often said South Carolina deserves better than Lindsey Graham … but it can also do better than Ralph Norman when it comes to replacing him. Also word to the wise, Freedom Caucus members: Having a self-dealing, corporate welfare advocate as your standard-bearer – either for governor or U.S. Senate – kind of cuts against that whole freedom and free markets shtick.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Will Folks (Dylan Nolan)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.

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10 comments

Nanker Phelge September 13, 2023 at 12:10 pm

In this installment Will Folks expresses astonishment that politicians flip flop. Shocking.

Reply
KC Voter September 13, 2023 at 1:46 pm

Folks is right about Norman. For a while, I was proud to have Ralph Norman as my Congressman. Between his support for McCarthy for House Speaker and now Nikki Haley for President, I have lost all respect for Ralph Norman. He is a Swamp creature, just like little dick Mick, who he replaced. I hope that the Fifth Congressional District can provide us with a challenger to Ralph in 2024 who can beat this RINO.

Ditto Lindseypoo, but after Lindsey beat multiple challengers in 2020, any of which would have been better than him, and didn’t even need a runoff, I am convinced that our Senate races are as rigged as the Presidential ones have been for decades.

Anyone but Lindsey!
Anyone but Ralph!

Reply
Ralph Hightower Top fan September 13, 2023 at 7:56 pm

Representative Joe “You lie” Wilson (T-SC) is also a chameleon.

Reply
All liars September 14, 2023 at 10:16 am

All are bought and paid for by corporate America……ALL.

Reply
Freeme Top fan September 14, 2023 at 11:21 pm

Just curious as to what Norman has accomplished in both the SC House of Representatives and the US House of Representatives. Seriously, can someone report on his accomplishments in both.

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Lord Barfington September 15, 2023 at 10:50 am

Norman is an insurrectionist who should be barred from holding federal office under the 14th Amendment.

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Frank September 18, 2023 at 11:53 am

I always love how Republicans tout their love of the Constitution and when they don’t get their way on something, they call for suspending the Constitution. They bitch that their 1st Amendment rights are being trampled on, that the Democrats are taking guns and violating their Second Amendment rights, bla, bla, bla, (none of which is true); but let them lose an election and suddenly the Constitution is dispensable. For all you MAGA Cult Members out there who do not understand this process, if a President declares martial law (Marshall as Ralph would say) and that decision is supported by our military, the Constitution is suspended. You live in a dictatorship and lose essentially all of your Constitutional rights until martial law is rescinded; and we all know, that in Trump’s case that would be when he died, maybe? That is what Ralph and a lot of other Republicans were calling for after the last election. A dictatorship run by Donald Trump. You are a fool to leave these people in power. They cannot be trusted.

I firmly believe that if Trump is reelected, and his cronies, like Ralph, Jordan, Comer, Gates, Hawley, Lindsey, etc. are left in power that will be our last election (other than Russian-style fake elections run by the military) in Trump’s lifetime, and who knows beyond that. Once you have absolute power it is hard to give it up.

Following the last election the only thing that saved us from this nightmare, was General Milley. He told Trump the military would not get involved in the election. That is the only reason Trump did not declare martial law. This time there will be no one to stand up to him. He and his cronies will make sure of that.

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Fuck You February 6, 2024 at 12:05 am

You refer to “MAGA” as a cult. Why don’t you examine your own cultists, you communist pile of shit.

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Pareto September 21, 2023 at 6:59 pm

SC Republican voters are fiscally conservative, yet every one of our senators, congressmen, and our governor, are fiscal liberals! How the heck does that happen???

The last SC office-holding politician who actually believed in limited government and free trade was Senator Jim DeMint! He bravely and successfully defended free trade in his debate with David Beasley.

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Joy Gammon Top fan September 22, 2023 at 3:34 pm

I hate to say this, but Norman is worse than Lindsey; both are terrible. Come on in, Creighton Waters and Justin Bamberg, do your state proud and run against the establishment creeps; we need new blood in Columbia, SC. Down with the good ole boys, and get better people in our SC government.

Reply

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