Graham Challenger Says South Carolina Needs to Get Back to DeMint Days

The first woman to graduate from The Citadel said she's jumping into the political arena because South Carolina has "a rich history of sending conservative leaders like Senator Jim DeMint to Washington, and I want to restore that tradition."

Nancy Mace announced her intention over the weekend to challenge Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in 2014. National Journal today named Graham as one of the top 10 lawmakers who could lose a primary next year, with former congressional candidate Richard Cash also challenging the incumbent.

"I look at what's happening in the country today. I look at a lot of these scandals, whether it's the IRS or the NSA or the Department of Justice or Benghazi. And I'm frustrated, like a lot of people in South Carolina are. And I think, you know, Washington is out of touch. They think they know better than we do. And I haven't lost hope. And I don't think South Carolina has, either," Mace said on Fox today.

"It's not necessarily one man or one senator. But I look at these issues, and I say to myself, 'Can we trust this government, whether it's with our health care or our taxes or our personal phone and e-mail records?' And he's on the other side of that argument," the 35-year-old businesswoman said of Graham and his position in favor of NSA surveillance programs.

"I mean, I look at, most recently, Obamacare, for instance. That's just one of many issues. And there's an effort in D.C. today to defund Obamacare, and I think we should defund it. I think we should repeal it. But Senator Graham said that that effort, to defund Obamacare, was a bridge too far. And I strongly disagree."

On Graham's bipartisanship, Mace said "if you're going to reach across the aisle, you still have to stay principled on who you are."

"And that's what Ronald Reagan did. And so, I want to go up there and join Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, and be part of that caucus, because that's the leadership that we have that's guiding the conservative movement, and that's the direction of the Republican party right now," Mace said.

"Too often, we start off in the middle, or too far to the left to try and negotiate. We need to be very firm in our principles on the issues that are facing this country that are most important."