Charleston lawyer Susan Gaddy has voted in more Democratic than Republican primaries, but her first bid for public office is an attempt to knock off U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint in the June 8 GOP primary.

Her Democratic roots, combined with her late entry into the race and DeMint's $2.3 million war chest, might make her a considerable underdog, but she doesn't think so.

"I just feel like God has called me to do this," she said. "A grass-roots campaign with a fresh face focusing on jobs for South Carolina is a winning combination."

Gaddy, 47, a Greenville native who moved to Charleston four years ago, said she's encouraged by Scott Brown's Massachusetts U.S. Senate victory and how the tea party movement is taking aim at incumbents.

But while many tea party members are staunch conservatives, Gaddy said she traditionally has voted Democratic, and supported President Barack Obama and Republican 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson in their races two years ago.

"I was a supporter of Obama in 2008," she said. "I'm so disappointed (that) I want to run for the Senate as a Republican. That's very disappointed."

She noted that one of her political heroes, the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, also switched parties.

She said if elected she would follow Thurmond's example of excelling at constituent service, an area where she said DeMint is weak.

Gaddy worked for the federal judiciary before returning to practice law privately in South Carolina in 1999.

The Democrats vying for the Senate seat are Charleston County Councilman and former judge Vic Rawl and Alvin M. Greene of Clarendon County.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771 or at rbehre@postandcourier.com.