With a field of conservative challengers set, South Carolina conservatives seem ready to take on the task of replacing Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
During a meeting last week, the Greenville County Republican Executive Committee presented resolution in support of replacing Graham, listing off a number of actions and votes he has taken that they find to be “fundamentally inconsistent with the principles of the South Carolina Republican Party.”
Among the 29 specific grievances, the Greenville County Republican Executive Committee notes that Graham has voted for President Obama’s “radical appointments” to the Supreme Court, supported giving aid to elements of al-Qaeda in Syria, and his backing of NSA surveillance of innocent Americans. They also note Graham’s vote for the TARP bailout and his support of new carbon regulations and taxes.
The resolution, which was made available by Joshua Cook at BenSwann.com, states that Graham “should be replaced as Senator for the State of South Carolina at the earliest possible electoral opportunity” and urges other local parties in the state take a similar action.
Graham will have more competition this year, facing three primary challengers as he has continued to lose favor with conservatives in the Palmetto State.
Over at the American Conservative, James Antle explains that at least two of Graham’s primary challengers — Nancy Mace and State Sen. Lee Bright — are ready to go toe-to-toe with the Senator’s controversial, anti-conservative views.
“it is remarkable that two of Graham’s three challengers in next year’s Republican primary seem prepared to take the senator’s hawkishness head-on,” wrote Antle. “State Sen. Lee Bright, a lawmaker from Greer, endorsed Ron Paul for president in the Palmetto State’s pivotal primary. Bright’s campaign website blasts the slogan, ‘For Senate, for liberty.’”
“Bright is joined by Charleston businesswoman Nancy Mace. When Graham suggested that Rand Paul was soft on national defense, Mace decided to stand with Rand,” he recalled. “She argued that instead of endorsing ‘President Obama’s intrusive arm of big brother regarding the collection of data and phone records,’ we might instead revisit Graham’s policies of foreign aid and intervention.”
But Antle points out that Mace and Bright will have a tough road ahead of them, noting the mountain of campaign cash on which Graham sits and his willingness to take on a fight. He also expresses some weariness about the number of challengers now in the race, which could help Graham if they fight among each other.
There hasn’t been a poll out of South Carolina in a while. But Republicans in the state do seem less supportive of Graham than they had been. In April, a Winthrop University poll found that his approval rating among South Carolina Republican had fallen to 57.5% from 71.6% in February.
Though not yet ominous for Graham, it does show that his primary challengers have an opening to make their case for why they present a better choice for voters. And with the help of activists ready to show Graham the door, they may be able to do just that.