COLUMBIA, SC (WIS/AP) - Thomas Ravenel, who resigned months after being elected State Treasurer in 2007 amid drug charges, has filed to run for U.S. Senate.
Ravenel turned in the 17,000 signatures necessary to file for election Monday morning at the South Carolina Election Commission. If the signatures are certified, Ravenel will challenge Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham for his seat representing South Carolina.
He will run as an independent candidate.
"When it comes to their voice," Ravenel said, "South Carolina voters will no longer have a false choice between the warfare state and the welfare state. Between one guy who wants to take all of their liberties and most of their wallet and a guy who wants to take all of his wallet and most of his liberties. I will protect both."
Ravenel says he gathered 17,000 petition signatures from all 46 counties. 10,000 signatures are required.
It is expected to take about a month for the Election Commission to verify the signatures.
Ravenel became state treasurer in 2007. But he had to resign months after his election when he was charged with buying cocaine for himself and his friends. He would plead guilty and spend 10 months in prison. He also pleaded guilty to drunken driving in New York in March.
About three years ago, Ravenel wrote on his Facebook page that, because he was a convicted felon, he would never be allowed to own a gun. Because of that, he said he decided to renounce his American citizenship so he could "live where I can be free." He later said he didn't feel he owed the country anything.
Today, Ravenel said the comments were satirical and he was just kidding.