The number of Republicans looking to replace U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in next year’s GOP primary is now at three.
State Sen. Lee Bright of Spartanburg formally announced his bid Tuesday during a tele-conference with Republican and tea party activists from around the state.
“It’s nothing personal against Lindsey Graham,” Bright said. “Because Lindsey Graham is a nice likeable guy. I just don’t think he’s good for America.”
Graham is too cozy with the Obama White House, Bright charged, adding that Graham has allowed “just about all his policies to be dictated by John McCain.”
Among the areas Bright differed with Graham were what he called the incumbent’s approach to amnesty and illegal immigration, and going to Egypt on a mission for the president.
Bright, 43, said he is not deterred by the fact Graham has a deep pile of campaign cash, or that the three candidates all come in as long-shots. South Carolina “is a runoff state,” he said, referring to what happens if no one in a multi-candidate field gets better than 50 percent of the voted.
Bright’s announcement came as he received the lowest ranking among the state’s 46 state senators this week — scoring just 53 out of 100 — in the 2013 version of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Scorecard.
Bright called some of the chamber’s causes “crony capitalism.” One of the scorecard issues he didn’t support was the Statehouse bond bill to give Boeing Co. $120 million in bond money for its jet plant expansion in North Charleston. Bright said he was philosophically opposed to taking on more debt and that he supports “small business owners that can’t afford a lobbyist.”
Bright joins Piedmont businessman Richard Cash and Nancy Mace, a consultant who also was the first woman to graduate from The Citadel, in targeting Graham in the GOP primary.
Graham has about $6.3 million on hand.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.