Sen. Brad Hutto paid the $10,440 filing fee Friday to make his surprise entry into the crowded race.
Hutto said he looked at Graham’s poll numbers and decided there are not a lot happy with him in either party. A recent Winthrop University poll had 45 percent of likely Republican voters supporting Graham with about a third still undecided.
“We need a leader in the Senate who will spend more time talking to folks in Barnwell, Bishopville, and Beaufort than appearing on Sunday morning talk shows,” Hutto said in a release announcing candidacy. “I will focus on job creation with special emphasis on rural South Carolina.”
Hutto also took a swipe at Graham’s concentration on foreign affairs. “We need to require our overseas allies to accept a larger role in their own security so that we can start refocusing attention on rebuilding roads and schools in our own country,” said Hutto, an Orangeburg attorney who has been in the state Senate since 1996.
There will be a June primary for the seat for both Democrats and Republicans. Hutto will take on Jay Stamper.
Six Republicans have filed to take on Graham.
The latest person to join the GOP primary was Columbia attorney Benjamin Dunn. The others running as Republicans are Columbia minister Det Bowers, state Sen. Lee Bright, businessman Richard Cash, attorney Bill Connor and businesswoman Nancy Mace.
Filing ends Sunday.