GOOSE CREEK — The first woman to graduate from The Citadel announced Saturday that she plans to challenge U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in the Republican primary in 2014.
Nancy Mace announced her candidacy at the Berkeley County GOP breakfast in Goose Creek, telling her audience that she wasn't always interested in seeking political office but was moved to run because of the direction she sees government heading.
Americans are waking up to the fact that our freedoms are being threatened. There are powerful forces in Washington that consider individual liberty pass and the Constitution dead letter, Mace said. I believe our state desperately needs new leadership, someone who truly understands the challenges before us and what's at stake and is willing to fight for the principles that make America great.
Mace also invoked the memory of President Ronald Reagan as the foundation for her candidacy,
He was proud, resolute, and he was an eternal optimist, Mace said. 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.
Mace told the audience that she thinks government is out of touch, and that while it has worked its way into every corner of American lives, the country isn't better off for it.
We cannot change Washington unless we change who we send to Washington, she said.
Mace runs a small public relations firm and graduated from The Citadel in 1999. She has sharply criticized Graham in the past several months, calling him not conservative enough.
State Sen. Lee Bright from Spartanburg says he also will enter the Republican primary soon. The only other announced candidate to take on Graham is Anderson businessman Richard Cash.