In the South Carolina primary, Graham faced a challenge. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
On the same night that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary bid to an opponent who singularly focused on opposing the immigration overhaul, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. — one of the authors of that legislation — won his primary with more than 50 percent of the vote.
Graham had 59 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race, all but ensuring his re-election to a third term. He also avoided a runoff, easily clearing the 50 percent threshold. He defeated state Sen. Lee Bright, businessman Richard Cash, businesswoman Nancy Mace, pastor Det Bowers, and attorney Bill Connor.
Conservatives initially targeted Graham this cycle, citing his support for a comprehensive immigration rewrite in the Senate. But no viable challenger emerged to take on Graham and his considerable war chest.
The senator did not take the race for granted: He has been on the air since February with ads touting his conservative bona fides.
There is no serious Democratic challenger, and Graham is expected to coast to re-election in the fall.
South Carolina’s junior senator, Republican Tim Scott, is also up for election this year. Scott was appointed to the Senate last year by Gov. Nikki R. Haley, after former GOP Sen. Jim DeMint resigned to become president of the Heritage Foundation.
Scott did not have a challenger in Tuesday’s primary.
Both races are rated Safe Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.