Reality TV star and convicted felon to make Senate bid in South Carolina
July 4th, 2014
12:27 PM ET
6 months ago

Reality TV star and convicted felon to make Senate bid in South Carolina

(CNN) – This year's U.S. Senate race in South Carolina might be getting a lot more interesting.

Thomas Ravenel – a reality TV star and former Republican state treasurer who was forced to resign from office after being indicted on federal drug charges – announced Friday that he would run as an independent candidate against GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Ravenel made his announcement in an email to reporters, prior to attending a July 4th rally in Greenville, South Carolina.

After stepping down as state treasurer in 2007, Ravenel served 10 months behind bars after he plead guilty to federal drug charges. In his email, Ravenel acknowledged his conviction, writing that "I'm an imperfect messenger."

The email also said that Ravenel "expected to be attacked over the issue – and was ready to defend himself."

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Ravenel has recently been in the spotlight for being one of the stars last season on the reality TV show "Southern Charm." Ravenel earned the nickname "T-Rav" on the Bravo series which chronicles the personal and professional lives of six friends who reside in Charleston.

In his email, Ravenel took a shot at Graham, labeling the senator a "liberal" and putting quotation marks around the word "Republican" in his description of Graham.

Graham is despised by many Palmetto State tea party activists and other grassroots conservatives, and a bunch of local GOP groups in the state have censured the senator in recent years. But Graham easily won his primary last month against six challengers.

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In red-state South Carolina, Graham is considered the strong favorite in November's general election, when he faces Democratic state Sen. Brad Hutto, who won his party's primary in a landslide.

In his statement, Ravenel said, "It's time for voters across our state and this country to declare their independence from a failed two-party system – one that no longer represents their interests or the interests of Americans to come." He added that "election after election of choosing the lesser of two evils has our economy and our freedoms on a downward slide."

Ravenel, 51, said that next week he'll submit to the state's election commission the signatures needed for him to appear on the November ballot.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser and CNN National Political Reporter Peter Hamby contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2014 • Lindsey Graham • Senate • South Carolina
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. MaryM

    Hahahaha, that's right repubs, vote for a felon !!!

    July 4, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  2. Donna

    I'm sure the Democrats have something to do with getting this clown to run. Their dirty election tricks know no limits.

    July 4, 2014 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. Lizzie

    MaryM, only democrats do that

    July 4, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. budshot

    Hmmm. Tough choice between him and Graham. Both are losers.

    July 4, 2014 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. TheTruth

    "Republican" and "convicted felon" sound redundant...

    July 4, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  6. Yea Right!

    Just because someone is on TV doesn't make them a star

    July 4, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  7. stevetall

    Oh, brother. Only in South Carolina would a bulb this dim think he deserves a place in American politics. The justice system, yes, but not the legislative system. I'm afraid to ask, "What next?" from southern Republican politics.

    July 4, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Go away loser, you are not getting your 15 minutes of fame. Anybody signing for this guy needs their head examined. I'm sure most of them were Democrats as they are always attracted to criminals, being the party of criminal coddlers themselves.

    July 4, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  9. JJ

    The country must really be in trouble if all we can find to run for public office are convicted felons and jail residents.

    July 4, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. Coley

    More values from the GOTP. So, in teabeggar land, it's better to be a felon and doper than a... "Liberal."

    July 4, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  11. don in albuquerque

    One con man vs another, whats the difference, other then one got caught? If the tea party "despises" him he couldn't be that bad. However my own preference over both would be Huckleberry Hound.

    July 4, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  12. sparky

    Ravenel is an "independent" only because he missed his chance to run in the GOP primary. Otherwise, he was and is a Republican.

    Don't blame Democrats for him running. Nobody made him fill his nose with cocaine, just like nobody told Mark Sanford to skip town to be with his mistress, and use taxpayer money for the trip. Those are South Carolina Republicans doing what they do best, on their own.

    As always, breaking the law is OK if you're a Republican. Go ahead and dodge the issue by calling Democrats crooks. When you do that, you just make it clear that you can't face the fact that your own darling team is full of liars and cheats.

    July 4, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. ED1

    Why not he would feel right at home with the rest of the felons there from both parties.

    July 4, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  14. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Really can't wait to see Thad Cochran,Kevin McCarthy,Thom Tillis,Sheldon Adelson,Rupert Mourdoch,Karl Rove,Lindsey Graham,John McCain,Susan Collins,Hayley Barbour,Grover Norquist and the GOP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea party's throats EXACTLY like they stuffed Romney down. Straight no chaser. Hillary will drink to that!

    July 4, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. Mr. Balls

    Just as well to have a convicted felon in Congress. That way everyone officially knows their representative is a crook.

    July 4, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. yerkiddinright

    Hilarious watching right wing nut jobs like Donna trying to pin this right wing nut job on Democrats. He's yours Donna dear and he's as unhinged (Graham is a liberal?) and should be your dreamboat candidate.

    July 4, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. Gary

    They might be oponents in a political race but I bet they would be "Buddies" in prison.

    July 4, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    The people of this country couldn't get dumber if their heads were cut off. Reading some of the hate based comments here, is proof of this fact.

    July 4, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    I didn't have to get past the headline to know this jerk is a repub.

    July 4, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. Harleigh Kiffer

    Looks like he is already experienced to go to Washington.

    July 4, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  21. Tony in STL

    I'll never forget how many "die hard" republicans suddenly became independent following their second loss to President Obama! A con will never be nothing else. I just hate that they've managed to infiltrate the true Independent voter base. Just plain sad.

    July 4, 2014 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  22. Kyle

    He's running as an Independent? Good luck with getting excluded from debates and overall 2nd hand treatment during the election.

    I'm surprised we haven't started putting the alternative candidates on the back of the ballot.

    July 4, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    Hey , we have one of those in Florida , the convicted FELON RICK SCOTT, but NOT FOR LONG!!!!!!!!

    July 4, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    He'll fit right in

    July 4, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  25. lindaluttrell

    Duh...I thought if you were convicted of a felony in this country: you cannot legally carry a firearm, vote OR run for office...just what am I missing here?

    July 4, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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