Former South Carolina state treasurer Thomas Ravenel told radio listeners in Charleston Wednesday morning that he is considering re-entering politics— including a possible run against veteran Sen. Lindsey Graham.
“I just wanted to tell you I am going to run for public office again,” Ravenel told WTMA morning host Tara Servatius. “And who knows, maybe I’ll run against Graham. Maybe I’ll drop $5 million of my own money into the race to show the national ‘limited government’ leaders that I’m serious.”
AUDIO: Ravenel speaks with WTMA’s Tara Servatius (2:32)
Ravenel, who resigned as treasurer in 2007 after cocaine possession charges, said he has done some soul-searching after watching other disgraced politicians get back into office— namely Congressman Mark Sanford.
Ravenel has flittered in and out of the public eye since pleading guilty and serving prison time for conspiring to buy and distribute less than 100 grams of cocaine. Since his release, he has called for the legalization of most drugs and even pledged to “renounce his citizenship” in 2011 after he was informed that his conviction meant he could never own a firearm.
The son of former congressman Arthur Ravenel, Jr., said he has changed since his conviction. “You have an opportunity to look inside yourself,” he told WTMA. “I had a lot of negative emotions that were running me. I’ve been able to clear those emotions. I’ve been able to let go of a lot of my personal baggage.”
While he called the cocaine possession “poor judgment” on his part, the former treasurer reiterated that he still believes the federal government should not ban drug use.
He is featured in the filiming of the Bravo reality TV series “Southern Charm” and briefly mulled a run against Sanford earlier this year.
Ravenel is still involved with a commercial real estate firm that he founded.
Several minor candidates have already thrown their hats into the ring against Graham, who has served in the U.S. Senate since 2003. Richard Cash, an Anderson County businessman, plans to oppose Graham in the GOP primary. Meanwhile, Columbia entrepreneur Jay Stamper has entered the race as a Democrat.
Sheree Bernardi of Charleston affiliate WTMA contributed to this report