Elections

Lee Bright to become third challenger to Lindsey Graham

A third conservative challenger is entering the race to unseat South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.

State Sen. Lee Bright, a libertarian-leaning Republican in the mold of former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, launched a campaign website Tuesday morning declaring his intention to run for Senate.

“As a South Carolina state senator, Lee Bright has earned the reputation for being the most conservative leader in the legislature,” the site reads. “His impeccable voting record reveals a strong belief in Second Amendment freedoms, pro-life values, the advancement of civil liberties and fiscal responsibility.”

“It’s time to take this proven track record to the U.S. Senate so South Carolina can lead the charge against the Washington establishment,” the site declares.

Bright, who represents Spartanburg, will become the third challenger from Graham’s right to jump into the race. Nancy Mace, a businesswoman and the first female graduate of The Citadel — the state military college — and Richard Cash, a pro-life activist and former congressional candidate, have already begun their campaigns.

The official announcement from Bright, which has been expected for months, will come next week.

“We’re working on something for next week,” he said Monday, according to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.

Bright endorsed Paul in the 2012 presidential election and was one of three state politicians to tour the state with him in the days leading up to the South Carolina primary.

He is also part of an unofficial caucus of libertarian-leaning state lawmakers that have sought to roll back government, clashing with Democrats as well as Republican Gov. Nikki Haley at times.

Graham insisted Sunday that he will not tack to the right ahead of the June 2014 election.

“I am going to keep being a social and fiscal conservative that focuses on our national security, takes care of our interests at home, like the Port of Charleston, working with my state officials, and be a conservative like Ronald Reagan who will sit down with a Tip O’Neill to solve America’s problems,” Graham said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

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