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Are reports of the death of a viable challenge to Lindsey Graham grossly exaggerated?

Are reports of the death of a viable challenge to Lindsey Graham grossly exaggerated?

A runoff is the wild card.

There hasn’t been a lot of polling in the South Carolina Republican Senate primary, but what polling there is shows Lindsay Graham ahead by 30%+ against potential challengers.

But it may still be a challenge for Graham to get the 50% he needs in the primary to avoid a runoff, and generating a runoff in which all the anti-Graham vote could coalesce, has been the strategy all along.

Politico has essentially called challenges to Graham dead on arrival, How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party:

Sen. Lindsey Graham recognized the threat years before it had a chance to form — and knew immediately what he had to do….

Graham’s deft maneuvering shows why he’s become the dominant political figure in this deeply red state and is skating to another six years even as he’s angered the base on immigration and other hot-button issues. Far from pandering to the party’s tea party wing in order to get reelected, he’s challenging it head-on: Graham warns that the GOP is caught in a “death spiral” with minorities, says it needs to get real about climate change and defends his move to open debate on gun control legislation after a school massacre.

His legwork to protect his seat could serve as a model for other endangered incumbents looking to fend off more conservative challengers….

Even as he cruises in the polls, the senator has blanketed the state with more than $1 million worth of ads promoting his work. He faces several lesser-known, underfunded candidates — including state Sen. Lee Bright, pastor Det Bowers, businessman Richard Cash, attorney Bill Connor, attorney Benjamin Dunn and Nancy Mace, a consultant and the first female graduate from The Citadel military college — in the June 10 primary.

They’re trying to keep Graham under 50 percent and trigger a runoff, which would give Republican outside groups that have sat out the race a chance to rally behind a single candidate and potentially hurt Graham.

But his opponents have not demonstrated much viability. One of them even credited Graham with ensuring a lackluster GOP field….

Soon after helping his close friend John McCain’s presidential bid in 2008, as the tea party began to show its strength in 2010, Graham began preparing for what an aide called “Armageddon.” He enlisted an army of paid staff and volunteers — including some 5,200 precinct captains — to help build six regional offices throughout the state.

And he amassed a staggering war chest, aimed partly at scaring off prospective opponents. Many donors have been reluctant to give money to anyone but Graham for fear they will be blacklisted by the senior senator, his adversaries said. And some big-dollar contributors are starting to put money behind a Graham-allied super PAC created by a former state party chairman, Katon Dawson.

Is it really over before it really has begun?

I long ago ceased trying to predict South Carolina politics.  But it seems to me that the world could change quickly if Graham gets into a runoff.

(Featured Image Source: YouTube)


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Caution is the word when dealing with Politico. I’d counsel that it leads from behind, waiting until a trend is firmly established before buying in.

More importantly, it would like nothing better than 6 more years of Graham Cracker. It would be a shock to read in Politico anything about Miss Lindsey that varies much from this.

Politico is just another prog hack-fest. They spin their lies again and again until they believe them, and in hopes of making conservative voters believe them and lose their will.

It’s essentially just another big government propaganda outlet. The people that work there should be embarrassed, as should anyone who believes what they read there.

    Olinser in reply to Paul. | April 23, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    It actually makes me sad. About 6 or 7 years ago Politico was actually a fairly good source for news, and The Arena was a place you could read some decent discussions from various commentators on the issue of the day.

    Then the conservative voices slowly started to disappear until The Arena became just an echo chamber of liberals agreeing with each other. When the only commentator expressing a conservative opinion is ‘the editor of the Cowboy Libertarian’ (pretty clearly just there so liberals could laugh about the stupid cowboy hick conservative), people just stop reading it. So it disappeared.

    I haven’t even been to the site in weeks, its pretty much the poster child for toeing the liberal party line on any issue.

Forget the polling. The internal polls aren’t the one being reported only the ones that are so heavily manipulates so as to get the desired result. Besides, who answers pollsters anyway? I don’t answer the phone and I hate people with clipboards.

I am a SC resident. Don’t believe a word of Politico’s propaganda! We know that we have been “had” by Miss Lindsey (those of us who pay attention, anyway) and those that are reliably “moderate” are waking up to the fraud that Miss Lindsey is. He refuses to debate his opponents, appears clueless on Common Core, told his constituents that instead of listening to them he would do “what he feels is right”, called his constituents “bigots” in front of La Raza, and attended a sit-down dinner with Obama while Rand Paul was filibustering over the drone-strike issue on American citizens. There is furious anger over his remarks in the upstate and so far, the only ones supporting him are the Democrats. His radio ads are laughable, the most recent “name drops” Trey Gowdy, Tim Scott and Mick Mulvaney. Can you say “Conservative by association”? [IMG=]

    scooterjay in reply to scooterjay. | April 23, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    someone has to help me out with the hyperlink……notice how the comments have been disabled for the video?
    I’m going there…..I’ll bet someone has pictures of Lindsey with underage boys!

Miss Lindsey won the senate by defeating Alex Sanders in 2002. I’m pretty sure Adolph Hitler himself would have beaten Sanders then, what with A Sanders’ uber-fake “Sout’ Cahlahnah occent” that came across sounding more like Foghorn Leghorn than a true statesman (See: State Sen. John Courson). There was no TEA party movement afoot when he was reelected in 2008, and he outspent Conley by a huge margin (Conley spent roughly 15 grand to Miss Lindsey’s six million in the pre-TEA party era where we, unfortunately, were not paying attention). Perhaps I am living in the “echo chamber” BUT….you are hard-pressed to find a Graham supporter around here and the conservative talk-radio call-in shows explode with callers whenever the topic is LG……and they aren’t singing his praises! The final bit of evidence is the aforementioned radio ads…..just two months ago when he was feeling somewhat safe (before his staff started hearing the rumblings of the constituency)his ads were all about LG….now he has gone to “wrapping himself in the flag” and we all know that is the favorite tactic of the endangered Democrat. Oh, one more “seat of the pants” barometer is yard signs…..I’m not seeing “LG” yard signs but the yellow “Lee Bright” signs are popping up like the dreaded dandelions that I must now go battle in my front yard! Y’all have a nice day!
Now that I can post links……look for the “Who is Lee Bright?” sign! SC loves football and politics!

here is a better video……Barack smokes Winstons!

There was never a realistic chance of unseating Graham. The opposition couldn’t find a candidate around whom to rally and raise money. It’s tough in South Carolina, anyone who challenges an incumbent Republican and loses won’t have much of a future in the Republican Party, and the Democratic Party is reduced to a coalition of white thieves and black thieves who manage to control some cities and counties, but they don’t have a serious statewide threat (they are running the whiny Vince Shaheen again against Haley, he will be trounced soundly).

No candidate, no money, no dice. It was just never happening.

And SC voters have never been as dissatisfied with Graham as national conservatives. Things like the “Gang of 14” are mostly forgotten, and he deemphasizes his immigration policy in election years. On foreign policy, defense, ObamaCare, and generally lambasting the Obama Administration, Graham is golden.

Add to that the state-of-the-art constituent service machine bequeathed to him by Strom Thurmond (Hollings had a great one, too), and there aren’t a lot of people who spit on the ground when Graham’s name is mentioned.

A run-off? Graham will probably take 60% of the vote.

Captain Keogh | April 23, 2014 at 4:46 pm

I am really not into primarying incumbent Republicans (I prefer beating Democrats) but Graham has to declare and demonstrate his independence from the malignant influence of John McCain.



    Estragon in reply to Ragspierre. | April 23, 2014 at 11:47 pm


    You do understand it would require a Constitutional Amendment, and that there is ZERO chance of one passing Congress, right?

    And that even if a Constitutional Convention were called and passed such an Amendment, it only takes 19 states who feel their senior congressmen/senators serve them well to kill it?

    Besides, it is pure kindergarten sore loser politics. You can’t beat the incumbents so you want to change the rules.

IN got rid of Lugar for many of the same reasons that Ms. Graham needs to go.

Yes, Mourdock said something moderately stupid to a reporter that the media snipped and clipped and ran on a 24 hr loop,

but what killed him in the General Election was all of the Lugarnauts and entrenched weenies in the GOP jumping on the Kill Mourdock Bandwagon.

    Estragon in reply to murkyv. | April 23, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    Utter nonsense.

    Lugar didn’t even bother to campaign. He acted as if the seat was his birthright. Graham has done several state tours in his pickup and an older car, events in small towns and large. He’s working for his reelection. There is simply no comparison.

    And Mourdock’s remark wasn’t some offhand comment to a reporter, it was in a live debate televised statewide AND after Akin’s rape stupidity, so there was no excuse for Mourdock to be unprepared (other than the fact he is a complete idiot).

    Mourdock spent the entire primary campaign trashing Lugar and his supporters, and now you whine they deserted him? Sorry, don’t dish it out if you can’t take it, and never to people you will need on your side. You can’t have it both ways, Sport.

Since when is Politico a source for anything??

If you want a hundred articles in a week slandering a Republican candidate, Politico is the place to go.

Otherwise, why acknowledge they exist at all?

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Aarradin. | April 24, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Exactly. It’s like citing Media Matters, HuffPo, or the like. They might get the weather report and sports scores out without bias, but there it ends.

Estragon…..I take it you too are a resident of SC. What do you think of Nikki Haley’s “Independant Republican” challenger Tom Ervin?

Quiet Professional | May 1, 2014 at 3:01 pm

What we South Carolinians must understand is that Mr. Graham only speaks out on sensitive political issues when reelection time is around the corner in attempts to convince the people he is a responsible Conservative representative. Mr. Graham is one of those individuals who possess monetary funding through neutral individuals closely tied to the Democratic Party with no official party affiliations and who handles Graham steering him in the direction they want him to go. Case in point; Mr. Graham was seen and heard conferring with John Kerry (Democrat) where Graham ask Kerry to let him know what he could do to help with John Boehner.
This is not stepping across the aisle to work jointly on national interest but to covertly damage his party’s agenda and provide the Democratic Party with advance warnings of their plans. Mr. Graham is one of those individuals who expect to make the U.S. Senate his career. Let me be the first to say, South Carolinians are not obligated to entrust this man with the future of South Carolina nor the nation. Who does Graham think he is to ignore the will of the people and continue to vote the way his Democratic handlers and he want to? His reelection campaign consists of many if not all known topics sanctioned by the Democrats which would not critically hurt them in upcoming elections, however, his political reelection campaign coverage makes him appear as though he’s totally conservative. Don’t be fooled!
Mr. Graham has consorted with the Democratic Party on various key issues and is know by seasoned political followers to be a Republican Rhino, one who is Republican only by name without loyalty to his party. We must deny Mr. Graham’s bid for reelection overlooking the years he has spent in the Senate and open his seat to a more dedicated representative who will actually vote the way his constituents desire. It’s time Lindsey Graham discovered his current Senate seat is not guaranteed and when he ignores the people, the people will speak. “In a free and Republican government, you cannot restrain the voice of the multitude.” The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are…staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.