Graham GOP challenger says 'ambiguously gay' comment was a joke

Published: Mar. 14, 2014 at 8:48 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 24, 2014 at 8:39 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A challenger to U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said Friday his "ambiguously gay" comment toward the senator was a joke.

Dave Feliciano said everyone at a press conference on Thursday at the State House was doing their politician thing and that is just not him so he made a joke.

Feliciano also said he hasn't heard from Graham's office and was surprised the comment has gotten the attention it has.

"I'm just a gnat to them [Graham]," Feliciano said.

The former Spartanburg police officer has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission but has not raised any money.

A recent Winthrop University poll showed Graham with a large lead, but not quite 50 percent. However, the same poll showed one-third of likely Republican voters polled have not made up their minds, and the remaining challengers were in single digits. Graham has more than $7.5 million in his campaign accounts while none of his challengers has more than $300,000.

All six candidates in that Senate race agree that Graham's decision to support immigration reform and endorse President Barack Obama's nominations for U.S. Supreme Court justices show he is not conservative enough to properly represent South Carolina.

Bill Connor, Lee Bright, Det Bowers, Nancy Mace and Richard Cash are also running for Graham's seat.

The GOP primary is in June.

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