Washington (CNN) – Could Sen. Lindsey Graham finally have a credible primary challenger in South Carolina?
Det Bowers, a politically-connected Columbia pastor, collected over $417,000 in the two months since he made a late entry into the GOP Senate primary in February, a source close to the first-time candidate told CNN.
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That sum pales in comparison to the war chest amassed by Graham, who raised $8 million as of the last reporting period and has already run a slew of television ads, but it’s the most substantial fundraising haul to date for any of the senator’s six little-known conservative primary challengers.
That Bowers raised the money in the span of just two months, nearly all of it from in-state donors, makes the figure even more impressive. Bowers, though, has devoted nearly all of his time to fundraising and remains something of a non-entity on the campaign trail. He’s had few public events and even fewer interactions with the media.
Still, with the June 10 primary fast approaching, Bowers’ fundraising total could persuade hesitant outside groups to get involved in the race.
Well-funded conservative organizations eager to unseat Graham, outfits like the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks, have been eyeing the race to see if any of his challengers gain traction, either financially or in the polls. But no candidate has managed to break free and emerge as a singular threat to Graham, and none have raised the kind of money needed to beat him.
If no candidate wins a majority of the vote in the primary, the top two finishers will face a two-week runoff election.