Senate Decisions Could Put Lindsey Graham's Seat At Risk | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Senate Decisions Could Put Lindsey Graham's Seat At Risk

Play associated audio

It seems Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has done his best in recent weeks to get as much ink as possible, talking about things that play well with the conservatives in his home state of South Carolina, like Benghazi and gun rights.

Graham also held up the nomination of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary to get more answers about what happened in Benghazi, even as he admitted Hagel had nothing to do with it. But his opposition might have more to do with home state politics than the nomination itself.

Republican senators who have shown moderate leanings have been hit with primary challenges from the right recently, and while no serious challenger has emerged yet in South Carolina, there are a whole lot of people hoping one does.

"There are some legitimate concerns to be asked about Benghazi ... [and] Chuck Hagel," says Tom Davis, a Republican state senator in South Carolina. "That being said, I do think it is fair to say that there has been a conscious effort on the part of Sen. Graham to elevate his role in those debates."

Davis says that masks votes Graham has taken that conflict with small-government ideals. Graham voted for the bank bailout, once worked on climate change legislation and voted for the recent fiscal cliff deal that allowed taxes to rise on the wealthiest Americans.

"All of those things have caused individuals to wonder whether or not [Graham] is representative of the type of conservative or the type of Republican that we need in Washington, D.C., right now," he says.

For a while, Davis was discussed as a possible primary challenger, but he bowed out to focus on his agenda as a state senator.

Bill Storey, a retired engineer in South Carolina, says he's not too pleased with the company Graham keeps.

"I am not a fan of John McCain and never have been, and [Graham] allies too much with McCain I think," Storey says.

Graham is widely praised for his constituent services, and his campaign war chest is formidable. He already has $4 million cash on hand, and that is why political consultant Chip Felkel doesn't think Graham has much to worry about.

"He may have opposition from some corners on the right, but at the end of the day it's going to be more talk and less walk," Felkel says.

So far, the conservative Club for Growth, a political action committee often a king-maker in Republican primaries, is still just watching South Carolina.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Telling Crimea's Story Through Children's Books

Blending history, myth and geopolitics, Lily Hyde uses fairy tales to teach children and young adults about Eastern European history. To cover the current unrest, though, she's put fiction on hold.
NPR

How Foster Farms Is Solving The Case Of The Mystery Salmonella

Foster Farms has been accused of poisoning its customers with salmonella bacteria. But in recent months, the company has become a leader in the poultry industry's fight against the foodborne pathogen.
WAMU 88.5

Former Head Of INS Weighs In On White House Immigration Policy

Doris Meissner was the head of Immigration and Naturalization Services under President Bill Clinton, and she speaks with Armando Trull about the constraints on the current president as he seeks to handle the immigration crisis.

NPR

Science Crowns Mozzarella The King Of Pizza Cheese

Why do some cheeses melt and caramelize better than others? Researchers used high-tech cameras and special software to figure it out.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.