Rand Paul won’t back Lindsey Graham in Republican primary

The disagreements between Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are no secret. The two have clashed on various political issues, most notably on foreign policy, highlighting the gap between the new faces in the Republican Party and the Old Guard establishment that almost always chooses politics over principle.

For example, after Paul’s filibuster in March, during which he raised awareness to President Obama’s drones policy, Graham and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) slammed the emerging non-interventionism in the Republican Party. More recently, the South Carolina Senator has downplayed conservative efforts to challenge the Obama Administration on domestic policy.

But even as he faces three different conservative primary challengers in his bid for re-election, Graham doesn’t seem ready to back down from positions he has taken that are out-of-touch with many Republicans in South Carolina.

During an interview with The State, a South Carolina-based newspaper, Paul indicated that he wasn’t going to get involved in the primary and delineated some of the problems Graham may face as he makes his case for re-election.

“You know, at this point my position is that I am trying to stay out of races that have incumbents, so that’s what my decision is at least for now,” said Paul when asked if he would back one of Graham’s primary challengers.

“[W]e have some disagreements. And if anything, I think he’s probably been more forceful in pointing out the disagreements,” Paul noted after a follow up question. “I frankly think that people, really of America but also South Carolina, probably aren’t that excited about sending good money after bad to Egypt and these far flung places.”

“I think if you were to ask about an issue like that and whether or not we should obey the law — you know the law says when there is a military coup that the military aid should end — I think that maybe you would find the people of South Carolina disagree with him on some of these issues,” he added.

Graham voted against Paul’s amendment to end military aid to Egypt after the coup d’état that deposed Mohamed Morsi’s regime. But he has reserved course recently, and urged the Obama Administration to cut off funding to the north African country.

Graham has spent the August recess mostly ducking his constituents while Paul has performed free eye procedures for low-income Kentuckians in between appearances on television and trips across the country.

Though he is well positioned for re-election, sitting on a sizable campaign war chest and still high poll numbers, some South Carolina Republicans are ready to bring Graham back home for good. The Greenville Country Republican Executive Committee recently introduced a resolution calling for the two-term Senator to be replaced, listing 29 specific grievances they have with his record.

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