Thomas Ravenel said his cocaine use became "a mountain out of a mole hill" as he repeated his intent to run against Republican U.S. Senate incumbent Lindsey Graham this year.
Appearing on the show "Watch What Happens Live" late Monday night, Ravenel told host Andy Cohen he would run against Graham - but as an independent candidate - if Graham wins the GOP primary in June. Graham faces six challengers but remains a favorite to keep the seat.
Ravenel made a similar announcement a few weeks back that he would take on Graham solo if Graham were the Republican nominee. He pledged a free market, socially libertarian campaign.
Ravenel, however, is not guaranteed a spot on the ballot. As an independent, or "petition," candidate not tied to a particular political party, he must collect the signatures of 10,000 active registered voters and turn them in to the state Election Commission by noon July 15.
All 10,000 must be verified for him to qualify. The filing period for established political parties ended last month.
Ravenel, meanwhile, said his lawyers told him to go to rehab immediately after the 2007 drug arrest that drove him from the South Carolina treasurer's office.
"They made a mountain out of a mole hill," Ravenel said of the case against him, adding that he believed his cocaine use was not that severe.
Cohen also asked him "when was the last time you did cocaine?"
"I gave that up a long time ago," Ravenel said.
Cohen's show airs on the Bravo network immediately after "Southern Charm," a Charleston-based Bravo reality show that follows Ravenel and several other hipsters.
Cohen also asked Ravenel if the 10-month federal prison sentence he was given following a guilty plea would help or hurt a potential political candidacy.
"I don't see how it could help," Ravenel said.
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