The candidate: Republican Lee Bright, a South Carolina state senator The member: Bright is challenging Sen. Lindsey Graham in the Republican primary. The state: This is one of two Senate races in South Carolina next year. Appointed Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican, is running unopposed in the special election to fill out the remaining term of Jim DeMint. Both races are rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. The candidate’s team: Chris Sullivan (general consultant)
South Carolina state Sen. Lee Bright knows it will be difficult to keep up with the fundraising pace of Sen. Lindsey Graham, whom Bright is challenging in the GOP primary. But to make it into the runoff and ultimately defeat Graham, Bright says he doesn’t need to match the two-term incumbent.
With outside groups already beginning to spend against Graham, “we don’t have to compete dollar-for-dollar,” Bright said. “If we can keep it to a 3-to-1 race, I think we’ll be fine.”
Graham, who had more than $6 million in cash on hand by the end of June, faces challenges from three fellow Republicans: Nancy Mace, the first woman to graduate from the Citadel; Richard Cash, a former congressional candidate; and Bright, a member of the William Wallace Caucus, which puts him in the conservative wing of the state Senate.
Bright believes he stands out in the nomination fight because he has a legislative record that he can contrast with Graham. He cited GOP Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah as the senators he “has the most admiration for” right now.
“We’re the only one running who has a record against the incumbent,” Bright said. “We’re running against Lindsey Graham, and we’re going to continue to cast the difference between my record in the state Senate and his record in the U.S. Senate.”
If Graham is held below 50 percent in the primary, the top two finishers — of which Graham will undoubtedly be one — will advance to a runoff.
This series questions the scores of congressional hopefuls who visit the CQ Roll Call offices each cycle. Responses and questions in the video have been edited and condensed. Have a question for a candidate? Follow us at @RollCallPols to learn about upcoming interviews.