Politics & Government

DeMint's Senate seat becomes target for Charleston's Rawl

Charleston County Councilman Vic Rawl said he plans to go after U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint's national aspirations, claiming the first-term senator is not serving South Carolina's interests.

Rawl announced he would seek the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate during a statewide tour Monday. Rawl stepped into the race after Rock Hill attorney Chad McGowan dropped out last month.

"My biggest problem with Senator DeMint is he does not appear to be interested in the issues of South Carolina," said Rawl. "If you've got time to write a book," Rawl said referring to DeMint's 2009 book "Saving Freedom," "you're not representing your constituents."

Rawl, 64, served four terms in the Legislature in the '70s and '80s, a dozen years as a circuit judge and 26 years in the S.C. National Guard. He was elected to Charleston County Council in 2008. Former auto industry manager Mike Ruckes, of Summerville, also is seeking the Democratic nomination.

Rawl said voters are upset with the federal government and questioned "social programs that may be beyond our financial means." Rawl said he supports a national health care proposal that is working its way through Congress.

"It needs to be done. Period," Rawl said of the health care bill.

DeMint, a Republican, is possibly the state's most popular politician among party activists. He reported more than $3.2 million on hand, according to the most recent federal campaign disclosures, and has been traveling the country raising money for like-minded candidates in Florida, California and elsewhere.

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