SPARTANBURG, South Carolina – State Sen. Lee Bright, one of the Tea Party candidates running against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in the GOP primary, told Breitbart News here on Monday that Graham is in trouble if he can raise enough cash to run competitively against the senior Senator from South Carolina.
“We’re focused on fundraising and grassroots. If we can compete, we know we have the message,” Bright said in an interview at the classic car contest and candidate forum. “So if we can raise the money so we can get our message out, I believe it’s game over.”
Graham has $6 million in his war chest, but Tea Partiers here in South Carolina do not believe they have to match Graham’s deep pockets dollar for dollar. The key is being able to get their message out to voters and keep Graham under 50 percent in the GOP primary early summer 2014, forcing the election into a runoff.
“Oh absolutely,” Bright said when asked if Graham is vulnerable. He argues that Graham’s shifts away from GOP standards, not just Tea Party values, has hurt him with moderate Republicans too.
“We love having the Tea Party support, but folks outside the Tea Party and even some establishment folks are fed up with him,” Bright said. “I’ve talked to some folks where they want anybody but Graham. One of the questions I always get is we want somebody with a record. You get folks that they have the talking points, but they want somebody that’s actually voted. Everywhere I’ve gone and spoke, that’s been one of the questions. We’ve got a Jim DeMint voting record in South Carolina. It’s limited government. I want to take the fight to Obama. I’m tired of being on the defensive. I’m tired of being on the retreat. I’m ready to advance.”
Graham has not spent any time in South Carolina interacting with voters via town hall meetings this August recess, and had just one town hall meeting with voters via phone–a practice through which politicians can screen questions.
If Bright were South Carolina’s U.S. Senator instead of Graham right now, he told Breitbart News that he “would have done as many town halls as I could schedule.”
“I would have been in front of voters all over the state hearing what they have to say,” Bright said. “My views are more in touch with what the voters’ views are, but I still want to hear what they have to say.”
“I think he’s more enamored with the D.C. crowd than he is his own constituents,” Bright added, when asked why Graham is not spending time with voters in South Carolina when he gets chances like this past month.