Ravenel Cocaine Bust Shakes Up State Politics

Posted June 21, 2007 at 11:31am

Popular state Treasurer Thomas Ravenel (R) was indicted Tuesday for allegedly possessing and planning to distribute cocaine late last year. The federal grand jury’s probe alleges that Ravenel, along with another man, had the cocaine around the same time as his much-publicized victory this past November.

If convicted, Ravenel faces up to 20 years in jail with no possibility of parole and a $1 million fine. Local media reports indicate Gov. Mark Sanford (R) has suspended Ravenel during the investigation.

Ravenel, a wealthy real estate developer, is the son of former Rep. Arthur Ravenel Jr. (R-S.C.). He ran a close third in the open-seat GOP primary that now-Sen. Jim DeMint won in 2004.

Just 40 years old, he was seen as a rising star in state politics before the drug bust and was being encouraged by some conservative groups to challenge Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) in next year’s GOP Senate primary.
— Matthew Murray