In a bizarre turn of events at the South Carolina state capital today, U.S. Senate candidate Dave Feliciano of Spartanburg, showed up at a press conference, (in blue jeans) and called Senator Lindsey Graham "ambiguously gay."
The purpose of the press conference was to show unity between the candidates challenging Graham by signing a pledge.
The pledge says:
"We, the undersigned genuine conservative Republicans, agree to endorse whichever one of our fellow signers advances to the run-off election against incumbent Senator Lindsey Graham following the South Carolina Republican primary election for the U.S. Senate on the 10th of June 2014."
All six announced challengers were invited.
Senator Bright left before Feliciano spoke, but after the event, both Connor and Cash renounced his comments.
Former S.C. Treasurer Thomas Ravenel, who may challenge Graham in November (if Graham wins the primary), rebuked Feliciano's comments as well.
In a communication via Fitsnews, Ravenel writes:
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"Our wallets and our pocketbooks – and the wallets and pocketbooks of our children and grandchildren – don't care if our elected officials are black or white, male or female or gay or straight. So I have a simple question: Why should we?
America is $17.4 trillion in debt, our fundamental freedoms are under attack, our economy is stuck in neutral, our government-run schools are falling further behind the rest of the world and our military-industrial complex still thinks it can act as the world's policeman.
Rather than substantively address these issues – GOP candidates want to make gay jokes.
Frankly there is no place for this sort of juvenile homophobia in a United States Senate race – and the Republican Party should be ashamed of itself for fostering such hateful, narrow-minded views.
In the same vein, though, I would condemn the bigotry Lindsey Graham has repeatedly demonstrated in banning openly gay soldiers from serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. This discriminatory policy resulted in the discharge of roughly 114,000 servicemen and women from 1940-2011 – and many of these veterans are still waiting for their rights to be restored.