South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is in a tough spot. He has followed the age old playbook of establishment Republicans – talk conservative at home but play footsie with the Democrats in Washington – for years. Finally, his duplicity is catching up with him.
He’s facing a primary challenge which, though it may not succeed in ousting him. at the very least going to cause him some anxious moments.
Sen. Lindsey Graham’s approval is slipping in South Carolina, two new polls show, but the challengers for his Senate seat still aren’t offering him a significant threat.
Graham’s approval in his home state has dropped nearly 30 points among conservatives in a new Winthrop University poll. Among Republicans and GOP leaners, 45.2 percent approve of the job Graham is doing, down from 71.6 percent in February. His approval among all registered voters stands at 37.4 percent, with 48.5 percent disapproving.
Those numbers are similar to a new poll out Wednesday from conservative firm Harper Polling, which found likely voters had a 44 percent to 37 percent unfavorable view of the Republican senator.
While he still leads all his challengers, under the South Carolina primary system he must break 50% or he will face a runoff. If Graham is forced into a runoff against one conservative challenger he will be in deep trouble.
At first glance, when gaming out Graham’s chances of surviving a multi-candidate primary and going on to win re-election, the logic seems simple: the more competitors, the merrier.
For a lawmaker who has long raised the ire of some rank-and-file conservatives with his deal-brokering and occasional breeches from Republican orthodoxy, there is a benefit to splitting the Tea Party vote into as many parts as possible.
But this line of reasoning has a potential flaw: South Carolina electoral law stipulates that a candidate must win at least 50 percent of the primary vote to avoid a runoff, and Graham’s chances of reaching that threshold could become even more difficult with additional names on the ballot.
And in a one-on-one runoff , all bets are off for Graham, who would likely have to fight tooth and nail for his political survival.
Former South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson — who runs a super PAC supporting the already well-funded incumbent — explained in stark terms the challenge ahead: “Fifty percent in a three- or four-person race is a hard number to get to. It just is. My expectation would be a runoff.”
Faced with conservative distrust and a nasty mood exacerbated by Obamacare, Graham has tried to deflect anger at his membership in the #VichyCaucus with a pledge to stop confirmation votes on all Obama nominees until he has received an adequate for the cowardice and ineptness shown by the regime when our consulate in Benghazi was sacked.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is holding firm on a threat to block President Obama’s nominees from being confirmed by the Senate unless the administration makes survivors of the Sept. 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, available to Congress for questioning.
“My request has been going on for a year, to talk to the five survivors,” Graham said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. “I want to perform oversight. I’m not trying to prosecute a crime.”
Don’t believe this for a second. Lindsey Graham is a duplicitous [your favorite word here].
In yet another example of him talking trash and doing very little, the Washington Post revealed his threat to be nothing but a bit of kabuki theater aimed at improving his electoral chances rather than discomfiting the Obama regime.
First of all, the South Carolina Republican’s threat apparently applies only to new nominees teed up for Senate action (or, in legislative parlance, “placed on the Executive Calendar”). There were plenty of otherwise noncontroversial names on that list as of Oct. 28, when Graham first issued the threat.
Since that date, the Senate has approved nominees including Richard Griffin to the National Labor Relations Board and Tom Wheeler and Michael O’Rielly to the Federal Communications Commission. And Graham said Sunday on CNN that he had also released his hold on two additional ambassador nominations, which means they could get floor votes, too.
His bogus hold on nominations was nothing more but another way that he has showered condescension and disrespect upon the GOP’s conservative base for years. Defeating a sitting US Senator in a primary is an uphill battle but Lindsey Graham has shown that every penny spent challenging him is money well spent.