State Sen. Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg) officially announced Tuesday that he will run against current U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Bright is the third Republican to challenge Graham in the 2014 GOP primary.
Bright made the announcement during a teleconference with Republican leaders and supporters. “I’ve looked at record of our senior senator, Senator Graham, and I feel like it is time for a change,” he said.
The legislator then criticized Graham for traveling to Egypt last week at the request of the Obama Administration to meet with military leaders and opposition figures as part of the growing unrest there.
“During the recess, when I would hope that he would be around the folks in South Carolina getting their feelings on some of the issues that are affecting their lives, he’s instead chosen to take his time to be a community organizer for the Muslim Brotherhood,” Bright said during the teleconference.
Bright has served in the South Carolina Senate since 2008. Since that time, he has established himself as one of the most conservative Republicans in that chamber, often staking out libertarian positions on the role of state government. During his time in that chamber, Bright has unsuccessfully sponsored a bill that would have declared the Affordable Care Act “null and void” in South Carolina and other legislation that would have allowed the state to create its own currency as a backup.
He has sponsored one bill that eventually became law in South Carolina— a bill signed last year that barred employees fired for misconduct from collecting jobless benefits.
Bright accuses Graham of having positions that are too moderate for South Carolina, most notably on immigration and foreign aid.
Charleston businesswoman Nancy Mace and Powdersville business owner Richard Cash are also challenging Graham for the Republican nomination in June. Columbia attorney Jay Stamper is the only Democrat in the race so far.