Nancy Mace to announce primary challenge against Lindsey Graham

The first woman to graduate from the Citadel is planning to challenge South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham in the Republican primary next year.

Charleston businesswoman Nancy Mace will head to Goose Creek Saturday to announce her Senate campaign, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

“This isn’t about one senator,” Mace told TheDCNF. “The only way to change Washington is to change who we send to Washington.”

“Washington is out of touch,” she added. “Voters are frustrated. They’re looking for someone authentic.”

In a June fundraising email, the Senate Conservatives Fund listed Graham as one of three Republican senators the group would support a primary campaign against if “strong, conservative challengers emerge.”

Mace, who has written articles for The Daily Caller, is a Fort Bragg native who graduated from South Carolina’s military college in 1999, becoming the first woman graduate since the Citadel was founded in 1842. She later wrote a memoir of her experience at the school and runs a public relations firm in Charleston.

Last year, Club for Growth president Chris Chocola told a Christian Science Monitor event that Graham was a potential target.

“If you’re looking to the horizon of 2014,” Chocola said, “the sun may rise over South Carolina.”

South Carolina Republican state Sen. Tom Davis predicted to TheDCNF last year that “someone will challenge Lindsey Graham.”

After Graham spoke out in support of the National Security Agency’s data collection practices under the Obama administration, Mace wrote a scathing post at the conservative blog RedState chastising the senator.

“In Senator Graham’s world, the Constitution doesn’t exist,” she wrote. “In Senator Graham’s world, the entire Bill of Rights is negotiable.”

Mace’s phrasing is a play on Graham’s criticism of Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul in the wake of the NSA leaks: “[I]n Rand Paul’s world, you have almost no defense against terrorists.”

“In Senator Graham’s world, arming al-Qaeda in Syria is a good idea,” Mace retorted.