Ravenel likely to jump into race for Senate on Friday

Thomas Ravenel

Former S.C. Treasurer Thomas Ravenel is expected to announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate on Friday as an independent hopeful against Republican incumbent Lindsey Graham.

Ravenel said Wednesday that a "large announcement" is planned for Friday and that he will appear in Greenville, but otherwise declined to give specifics.

A copy of Ravenel's schedule says he plans on attending the Red White and Blue Festival in Greenville on July 4.

Ravenel recently confirmed he had hired a private vendor to help him collect the minimum 10,000 signatures of South Carolina voters he needs to be placed on the November ballot as an independent, or petition, candidate.

The signatures have to be submitted to the state Election Commission by July 15. He declined to say where that process is or how many signatures he'd amassed.

Ravenel, of Charleston, was once seen as rising star of the GOP but his career ended in 2007 when he was caught in a federal cocaine scandal that forced him from office. He pleaded guilty to a charge of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and was sentenced to 10 months.

He recently appeared on the Charleston-filmed reality TV show "Southern Charm."

Also on the Nov. 4 ballot are Democrat Brad Hutto and Libertarian Victor Kocher.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.