A Statehouse veteran has announced he wants to run for U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham’s seat. State Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, announced his candidacy Friday. He will face Columbia resident and entrepreneur Jay Stamper in the June primary.
Hutto said in his campaign announcement, “We need a leader in the Senate who will spend more time talking to folks in Barnwell, Bishopville, and Beaufort than appearing on Sunday morning talk shows. I will focus on job creation with special emphasis on rural South Carolina,” said Hutto.
In an interview Friday with South Carolina Radio Network, Hutto said he is a better representative of the party than Stamper as he has worked his way up through the party since college. Hutto has served 17 years in the state Senate.
Hr is banking on a more than 40 percent Democratic vote, along with the GOP primary process making Graham more vulnerable after facing six party challengers.
“We all know this is not going to be a one-on-one race, whoever the (GOP) nominee is,” Hutto said. “Because there is a Libertarian whose going to be in the race, if not one or two other third-party candidates. Then my votes look pretty good at 46 or 47 percent.”
He may have to win the lottery to match Lindsey Graham’s multi-million-dollar fundraising, but Hutto does not seem worried about that.
“I think a lot of that money is going to be spent by the time he gets to me,” Hutto laughed.
AUDIO: Hutto talks about his strategy against Graham (2:00)
The Orangeburg-area lawmaker often takes the lead for his party in the most contentious Senate debates. Recently, he defeated a controversial bill to block Obamacare in South Carolina by using a rules challenge.
Hutto graduated from the University of South Carolina’s honors college and received his law degree from Georgetown University.
This is not an election year for his Senate seat, so he can still return to the legislature if he loses.