I’ve already been seeing mentions of this in the comments on other threads, and couple of quick hits on the cable shows, so it’s probably time to get all of this down on the record here. Nancy Mace officially announced her intention to challenge Senator Lindsey Graham for his Senate seat in the 2014 South Carolina GOP primary this weekend. The event took place at the Berkeley County GOP breakfast on Saturday.
August 3, 2013 – Goose Creek, S.C. – Nancy Mace announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate today in Goose Creek, South Carolina. Mace is a resident of Charleston and attended The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, where she was the school’s first female graduate from its Corps of Cadets in 1999. Mace earned a masters degree in mass communication from The University of Georgia. She currently owns and operates a public relations firm.
Mace said, “I grew up during the Reagan years. I believe our fortieth president understood what being an American was all about. He was proud, resolute, and he was an eternal optimist. Our friends knew he would be steadfast and our enemies respected him. President Reagan helped regain our national pride, but he also left us with a powerful warning. He said, ’Freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction.’ He said ‘we must fight for it, protect it, and defend it.’ I think those words ring true now more than ever.”
The idea of somebody launching a primary bid against Graham certainly won’t come as much of a surprise, and in fact businessman Richard Cash already announced his intentions to do the same. (Cash lost a bid for a House seat previously.) State Senator Lee Bright may also be throwing his hat in the ring. Unlike some other challenges to sitting Senators we’ve seen this year (reference Cheney v Enzi) there certainly seems to be an appetite for a change, at least on a national level. If that translates to an equal mood for new blood back at home, Graham could definitely be in trouble, despite being particularly well funded. But both of these challengers leave me with a few questions.
Not living in South Carolina, I’m going to go on the generous assumption that there’s more to this campaign than first meets the eye. I haven’t seen anything immediately disqualifying regarding Mace in terms of a potentially successful bid, and going by the limited sample of readers here and comments at a few other sites, she seems to be attracting some early support. But much like a few other recent examples we’ve seen in the news, I immediately find myself wondering if there isn’t some more seasoned talent on the bench. Don’t get me wrong, Mace has done much to commend her, even beyond graduating from The Citadel. She’s been busy getting married, starting a family and setting up her own public relations firm. But no matter how much of a potential fan you may be, that still sounds a little thin for a Senate run. At least Lee Bright has served in the legislative branch at the state level. I just wonder if the primary base will be asking if she has any qualifications beyond who her father is.
Her opening speech also seemed a bit canned, as if somebody told her to check a few of the basic conservative boxes and get it over with. (“Make sure to say Reagan’s name a few times, mention the constitution and get the heck out of there!”) But I also found a few previous comments she released on immigration, gun control and other important current topics, so it’s probably too soon to tell, and she may well be prepping a barrage of good, serious policy speeches to use against Graham in the inevitable debates. In any event, it looks like it will be an interesting primary season in South Carolina, and we definitely need to be recruiting more energetic, young candidates everywhere, so welcome to the race, Ms. Mace.