Believing it to be “God’s will,” South Carolina State Sen. Lee Bright (R) announced Tuesday that he will mount a 2014 primary challenge to U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R). Over four years in the State Senate, Bright has taken a number of out-of-the-mainstream positions on a wide array of issues, aligned himself with the anti-government William Wallace Caucus, and served as state campaign chair for the presidential campaign of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). Bright also is on the board of a right-wing seminary that believes women should be subservient to men, both in the church and in the home.
While Graham has amassed a stunningly right-wing record over his two terms in the Senate, Bright says that Graham “has gone off the reservation in terms of the conservative ideals I believe in,” and must be challenged.
Bright is on the board of visitors for the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. The seminary embraces an arch-conservative view of gender roles called the “Danvers Statement.” Those “core beliefs” include a view that “wives should forsake resistance to their husbands’ authority and grow in willing, joyful submission to their husbands’ leadership.”
Bright’s other “conservative ideals” include:
1. Letting high schools teach students to shoot guns. Explaining that “the more guns we have the safer we are,” Bright authored a bill last month to create high school courses on how to use a fire arm and the history of the Second Amendment. “The more training we can get on the history of our nation, the founding of our nation, the better,” he argued, also claiming that the Newtown tragedy could have been stopped if someone else present had been armed. He also proposed a bill to exempt all South Carolina-made guns from any federal safety regulations and likened gun control to a ban on “swimming pools and hot dogs.”
2. Anyone enforcing federal health care law should get a year in jail. Bright’s S. 102 would attempt to simply declare the federal Obamacare law null in South Carolina — a blatantly unconstitutional move — and make it a crime for any federal official who knowingly “attempts to enforce any aspect of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” a crime, subject to “up to one year in prison.”
3. Banning public funding for abortion for victims of rape and incest. Bright has repeatedly sought to ban public funding for abortions in cases of rape and incest. After he agreed to a compromise that allowed the procedures to be covered by the premiums paid by state employees, Bright observed that, “It took 46 years to end the slave trade … in Europe and England,” and banning all abortions would similarly “be a long process.”
4. Opposing funding for rape crisis centers. Bright was one of just two Senators to vote against overriding Gov. Nikki Haley’s (R) controversial veto of nearly half a million dollars for rape crisis centers. Haley called the proposal a distraction and a “special add-on” benefiting only a small percentage of the population.
5. Pushing for South Carolina to adopt its own currency. Claiming that the state needs “some kind of backup” in case the population should “lose faith in the dollar,” Bright filed a bill calling for a study on the creation of a South Carolina state currency based on “gold or silver, or both.”
Though he touts himself as a “fiscal and social conservative” and criticized President Obama for not mentioning the national debt in this second inaugural, Bright’s On Time Trucking has reportedly faced tax liens and foreclosure.