Thomas Ravenel says the birth of his new baby girl with girlfriend Kathryn Dennis won't derail his plans to run for the U.S. Senate later this year.
"I think I can juggle both," he said. "A baby and a Senate run."
The Bravo Network was first to report Tuesday that Ravenel, 51, and Dennis, 22, of the reality show "Southern Charm" are the parents of a baby girl. He called her "a blessing."
According to the story on BravoTV.com, the child was born March 24 in West Palm Beach, Fla., where Ravenel splits his time.
Kensington Calhoun Ravenel "is a happy and beaming bundle of joy," according to Ravenel, the site said.
A pregnancy scare between the couple had been part of the early storyline in the "Southern Charm" show. It turned out to be negative.
Ravenel told The Post and Courier the couple soon began discussing having "a baby for real," afterward. "We were both in agreement, so we got what we wanted."
They are living at his Edisto Island plantation. The couple has no immediate plans to marry, he said.
"Right now we're doing what works for us," he said.
As recently as the first week of March - when Ravenel announced he was contemplating a run for U.S. Senate as an independent - he denied he was a parent as the baby scare storyline on TV unfolded. "There is no baby," he said at the time.
"You gotta ask the correct question," he said Tuesday. The baby was born three weeks later.
Ravenel is South Carolina's former state treasurer whose political career ended when he was caught in a federal cocaine arrest. Dennis is part of the Dennis family of influential figures anchored in Berkeley County.
Ravenel has said he would run for the U.S. Senate as a petition candidate against Republican incumbent Lindsey Graham if Graham were to win the June GOP primary. He faces six challengers.
"I've got a lot of energy," Ravenel said of the prospects of running. He would also have to collect the signatures of 10,000 registered voters to get on the ballot for November.
"I'm getting on in my age and I wanted a child," Ravenel also told the blog. "And after we had wrapped up shooting in Charleston, we had both decided we wanted to have a baby for real. We both love each other and care about each other, so we said, 'Let's do this!' "
Ravenel said he has introduced the new child to his family, including his father, former local politician Arthur Ravenel Jr.
"He's absolutely thrilled," said Ravenel of his father's reaction to the baby. Arthur Ravenel now has 18 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, Thomas Ravenel said.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.