Famed chef heats up SC Senate race
October 1st, 2010
01:38 PM ET
9 years ago

Famed chef heats up SC Senate race

Washington (CNN) - Just when you thought the race for the South Carolina U.S. Senate seat could not get more unusual, there's a new twist.

Famed South Carolina chef and cookbook author Nathalie Dupree has entered the race as a write-in candidate. She tells CNN she was motivated to launch the long-shot campaign after reading an article last week about GOP incumbent Sen. Jim DeMint's refusal to sign off on a congressional earmark of $400,000 to study dredging for the port of Charleston.

The study was designed to help allow the port to accommodate larger boats - thereby helping the state's economy.

"I just got angry," Dupree says. "Jim DeMint would not sign off on it."

DeMint is a fiscal conservative who has staunchly opposed congressional earmarks.

"Funding for the Port of Charleston is being held hostage to a corrupt, political earmark system that rewards those who play along and tries to punish those who dare to speak for change," DeMint campaign manager Ian Headley told CNN in a written statement.

"Senator DeMint will continue to fight to change this broken system that is short-changing our Port, bankrupting our country and mortgaging the future of South Carolinians."

Dupree is also upset that DeMint has been active this campaign season traveling the country rallying support for other candidates. DeMint's political action committee has donated several million to conservative candidates, many of whom challenged establishment choices in Senate contests this year.

DeMint "would rather change the U.S. Senate than help South Carolinians," Dupree says. "I just think there needs to be a voice at least to make Jim DeMint come home ... instead of (trying to be) a big man to create a new party that is gong to create steam from a kettle."

"One of the ways Senator DeMint fights for South Carolina taxpayers is by helping elect principled leaders to the Senate who will stand up to the big spenders in both political parties," replied Matt Hoskins, a spokesman for the Senate Conservatives Fund.

Dupree, author of 10 books and hundreds of television shows, says the odds in her uphill campaign are not as they otherwise could be because of her fame and notoriety.

"It would be against me if I wasn't so well-known in the South," she says.

After announcing Thursday in several events, she is hitting the campaign trail Friday.

"I am just getting going," she declares.

Dupree, who was active as a youth in Democratic politics, still considers herself a Democrat but says she wants to work with people in both parties, including the state's other GOP senator, Lindsey Graham.

She enters a race that already generated national attention when political novice Alvin Greene shocked the establishment by winning the Democratic primary. Democrats in the state pushed Greene to pull out after news surfaced that he had been charged with showing pornographic images to a college student. He has not entered a plea in the case.

Speculation also swirled about how Green, who is unemployed, could afford the $10,400 filing fee to enter the race. At the same time, observers have questioned the halting answers he gave in several television interviews.

DeMint is heavily favored to win a second term. There is also a Green Party nominee in the race, as well as two other write-in candidates.

Follow Kevin Bohn on Twitter: @KevinBohnCNN

Filed under: South Carolina
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    DeMint had good reason ot to sign off on it.

    Good luck with that write-in.

    October 1, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. 33 Days until Socialism dies in the United States

    But the DemocRATS already have such a fine, fine candidate like Alvin Greene! Have they convicted him on that pron charge yet? Yes... cut from the same mold as Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Maxine Waters and Charlie Rangel. CRIMINALS ALL.

    October 1, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. vic, Nashville TN

    Jim DeMint is bad apple he want to start own caucus in senate one day we will through the basket in the trash

    October 1, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. jim

    One issue people in politics never win races .You have to build coalitions with people of similar views to get anything done.

    October 1, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  5. Lori in St Pete

    Get the **** over yourself 33 days. The Dems didn't elect Alvin Greene – the rethugliban did! SC has open primaries. Greene got more votes than than there were registered voters in many districts, and in fact most of those overvotes were in heavily rethugliban districts. The rethugliban OWN the state, and when the dems requested the state attorney and elections officials look into the irregularities, the rethugliban in charge said "NO". Nobody expects a Dem to win in SC, and national Dem parties don't even bother to fund candidates in SC. That being said, it would serve the rethugliban in SC right if Greene DID win.

    October 1, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  6. T'SAH from Virginia

    Wow – Dupree will be the FAMOUS "Vote for NONE of the ABOVE" and just might be able to pull it off!!! LOL

    "Speculation also swirled about how Green, who is unemployed, could afford the $10,400 filing fee to enter the race."

    What is there to SPECULATE??? Green is a GOP Plant and they pick a 'not so intelligent one, too'. This is NOTHING against Green, but all the anger is against the GOP... I hope they find out BEFORE the election in 2010 who 'planted him'.

    DEMOCRATS and DeMINTy-not-so-Freshness haters – rally around Dupree and UPSET the RACE! in SC!!! Write her name on your HAND (a Palin Favorite) before going to the POLLS in November!!!

    This is T'SAH from Virginia and I approve this message – wholeheartedly!!

    October 1, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. DSJ

    Senator DeMint deserves plaudits for being one politician who actually LISTENS to the people he serves. Americans are fed up and disgusted by earmarks. They are nothing more than bribes aimed at securing the favor of special interests who, in return, support the politician in the next election cycle. Earmarks must go! Way to go Sen. DeMint!!!

    October 1, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  8. Doc

    Got to agree that Green is a plant and perhaps Dupree might make the better candidate, write in or not. Of course now someone will play the race card and say we're all racist. But how did someone who received very few votes in the Democrat controlled sections end up winning after receiving so many votes from the Republican controlled areas? This is exactly what was done in states with open primaries during the 2008 election because there was only one Republican candidate. Republicans – you got your wish for Democrat in the last election, hope you're happy.

    October 1, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  9. Bob, Virginia

    One of Dupree's spatulas has more brains than Jim DUH-Mint.

    October 1, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  10. D. Bunker

    I'll donate to her campaign. Demented is one of the most treasonous, anti-American GOBPbaggers in the country.

    October 1, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  11. Erma Goon

    Cook them all in a stew and serve it at a pigfarm.

    October 1, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "DeMint had good reason ot to sign off on it."

    And what was that? Preventing Obama and the Dems from appearing to enact legislation that actually helps? The ideological absolutist position on earmarks is nothing more than mid-term election grandstanding. When they are reasonable and approriate and actually can be expected to work some benefit for the constituency, they are a good thing. The solution is finding a more appropriate procedure and a workable standard for them so we don't get bogged down with the more wasteful types of crap.

    This earmark wasn't bad just because it was an earmark. It was a legitimate use of federal money in an attempt to generate jobs in SC by boosting the economy and would have helped create long term benefits for the people of SC and, by extension, those who do business with them. The dredging itself would have created jobs, let alone the new capability of handling larger cargo vessels. People like DeMint, who prance around in ideological pampers pretending it means they are "principled" rather than the impractical, unpragmatic, overpaid political jesters they really are...THOSE are the ones we need to get rid of. The reality is, he blocked this primarily BECAUSE IT WOULD WORK, not because of any of the ideological mumbo-jumbo he vomitted.

    October 1, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  13. Tony

    Complete non-story.

    October 1, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. Jaison Biagini

    it's funny hearing people call obama a socialist. 33 do you know what socialism even is?? if obama were a socialist he would have never signed that piece of crap health care bill. there is nothing even close to socialism in that bill. it's just another piece of policy that does the exact opposite of socialism. it makes more money go out of the middle class and poor families income and directs it into the pockets of yet another greedy corporation. the insurance industry. if it were socialism it would put health insurance companies out of business and give everyone insurance through a government run agency like medicare.

    here is the problem with republicans. they are in love with capitalism. and if were were living in the 40's i might be too. the problem is this isn't the 40's. capitalism doesn't work right anymore. the idea that if we give tax breaks and lower regulations on corporations they will create jobs is a fallacy. businesses used to be about making products, now they are about making profits. no money ever trickles down. if they are given breaks money goes to shareholders and executives. find a way to save a buck, get a promotion. find a way to increase profits, get a promotion. when the guy at the top of the company is now making 400 or 500 times what the guy at the bottom makes that is a problem. those guys making all the money want's to pay workers as little as possible, break their unions, and if possible manufacture in china to hold down costs and raise his salary and the stock value as high as possible. it makes me crazy when i see people who make $100,000 and under vote for these policies. it's like they forgot the 8 years under bush!! heck republicans should be a lot happier about obama than democrats. he seems a lot more like bush than kennedy to me.

    October 1, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  15. ConstitutionalPatriot

    Go Jim keep fighting for the greater good! The establishment boot lickers may not like your refusal, but you stand for something and you are right. My donation has been made, now get out there and win buddy!

    October 1, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    Indeed Lori. SC is one of those states that we WANT to secede. Full of angry, fearful rednecks who take our federal tax money with one hand while paying pennies on the dollar with the other.

    October 1, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  17. Haren

    Tea party where is your sign of hitler for Jim Deint?

    October 1, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. Bill from GA

    Good Luck to Nathalie Dupree!!

    Even if she doesn't win, she may force Deminted and the repugs to focus a little more on South Carolina.

    October 1, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  19. elidude

    Got to be a better choice then the Rep.s in DE! O'Donell? HAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

    October 1, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |

    You go girl!!!! That demented Demint character is trying to line up for the Presidency. He's not concerned w/ everyday people. No his concerns lay w/ the rich of his state, and country.

    October 1, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. p

    GOP is just plain sad. DeMint, McConnell, Bonehead, Palin, Gingrich, Huckabee, Roomney?
    These guys want to run the show?

    October 1, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  22. ART

    What kind of vote did she expect from Demint other than no, basically that is a major part of his vocabulary, being a Republican trying to make sure that President Obama fails whether its good for the country or not

    October 1, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  23. ramtruck2500

    I say go for it!!! Its fresh and exciting as well. Demint is just always meddling in other states big time. I think he needs to pay more attention to his socalled home state.

    October 1, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  24. enough already

    So, is her campaign slogan going to be "Earmarks For Everyone!"?

    On the other hand, it is refreshing to hear a Dem actually come out and state that she is all for "Tax and Spend". The rest of the Dems just lie about it.

    October 1, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  25. To STUPID 33 days to Socialism Crap


    BTW- you have way too much time on your hands, better round up more illegals to work at your ranch.

    October 1, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
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