WASHINGTON, July 14 (UPI) -- Thomas Ravenel found 16,469 people to sign a petition to put him on the ballot, despite his rap sheet and reality show.
The former South Carolina state treasurer, who earlier this month announced his desire to run as an independent for Senate, submitted the signatures to the state Election Commission Monday for certification.
Should the commission find that Ravenel has at least 10,000 signatures, he will appear on the November ballot against Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, Democrat state Sen. Brad Hutto, and libertarian Victor Kocher.
Ravenel, 51, first ran for U.S. Senate in 2004, when he finished third out of six candidates. He was forced out of his post as treasurer in 2007, when he pleaded guilty to a federal drug charge and was sentenced to 10 months in prison.
He appeared on the Bravo reality series, Southern Charm, which documented his relationship with Kathryn Dennis, 22, with whom he has an infant daughter, and other wealthy Charlestonians.
In his campaign announcement, the libertarian-leaning Ravanel said he wanted to give "a real debate and a real choice" to South Carolinians who had been forced into "choosing the lesser of two evils" by a "failed two-party system."
"Government doesn't belong in your boardroom, your bedroom or your email inbox," he said. "But its presence in every aspect of our lives continues to grow. Democrats keep dictating choices in our marketplaces and Republicans keep telling us who we can and cannot love. And both parties want to keep spending like there's no tomorrow while they spy on us to make sure we don't step out of line. All of this leads to less prosperity and liberty -- and more dependency and fear."
The certification is expected to take about a month.