Ex-State Treasurer Thomas Ravenel said Friday that he will make a longshot bid for U.S. Senate this year.
“It’s time for voters across our state and this country to declare their independence from a failed two-party system – one that no longer represents their interests or the interests of Americans to come,” Ravenel said in a release. “Election after election of choosing the lesser of two evils has our economy and our freedoms on a downward slide – but there’s still time to change the road we’re on. To do that, though, we need a real debate and a real choice – candidates who are offering real ideas to turn things around.”
Ravenel will need to gather 10,000 signatures by July 15 in order to get on ballot this fall as a petition candidate against Republican incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democratic challenger State Sen. Brad Hutto. He’ll have to overcome not just long odds, but his own checkered past.
Ravenel unsuccessfully ran for Senate back in 2004, coming in third in the GOP primary to eventual winner Jim DeMint. He then successfully ran for State Treasurer — but was only in office seven months before his indictment on cocaine distribution charges. He eventually pleaded guilty later that year to conspiring to buy and distribute less than 100 grams of cocaine. He spent 10 months in prison.
He frequently popped in and out of local politics, once pledging to renounce his U.S. citizenship out of frustration that federal laws do not allow a convicted felon to own firearms (he never followed through on that threat). He also had his license suspended six months after his arrest in New York last year on a driving while intoxicated charge.
Ravenel has achieved some small pop culture fame in the past year for his role on the Bravo reality TV show “Southern Charm.” He told The State becoming a father in April (with “Southern Charms” co-star Kathryn Dennis) has helped him “learn the true meaning of responsibility.”
“I’m an imperfect messenger, I know that – but somebody’s got to stand up for the message,” Ravenel said in his announcement. “Also, the last time I checked there are plenty of ‘perfect’ messengers out there who are bankrupting our Treasury, destroying our economy, and sending our sons and daughters off to die and be disfigured in places we have no business fighting.”
Although running as an independent, his positions are libertarian on domestic issues and non-interventionist on foreign policy.