By JEFFREY COLLINS
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Former South Carolina state treasurer Thomas Ravenel has presented signatures to get on the ballot as an independent running for Lindsey Graham's U.S. Senate seat.
Ravenel said he gave 17,000 signatures when he arrived Monday at the state Election Commission in Columbia. Election officials will have to verify the signatures. That process is expected to take about a month.
Ravenel became state treasurer as a Republican in 2007. He had to resign months after his election when he was charged with buying cocaine for himself and his friends. Ravenel says he is running to reduce the size of government, give people more freedom and to curb U.S. involvement overseas.
A statement from the state Republican Party called Ravenel a convicted felon and called his efforts an embarrassment to the state.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.