Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 24, 2014

Posts in "S.C. Senate"

February 26, 2014

Poll: Lindsey Graham Close to Avoiding Runoff

South Carolina Republican primary voters don’t think the country is on the right track, but they’re not yet blaming Sen. Lindsey Graham.

The two-term incumbent, who faces a handful of GOP primary challengers, led a Winthrop University poll released Wednesday with 45 percent of the vote. Graham needs more than 50 percent of the vote in the June 10 primary to escape a runoff, but none of Graham’s challengers made it out of single-digit support, while 35 percent remained undecided.

Graham kicked off his TV advertising campaign two weeks ago, highlighting his efforts to fight the Obama administration on health care and Benghazi.

That plays well in a state where just 3 percent of GOP primary voters said they think the country is on the right track and 90 percent disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job. Full story

February 11, 2014

Lindsey Graham Launches First Campaign Ads

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is facing a few Republican primary challengers, released his first TV and radio ads of the year on Tuesday.

The ads work to burnish Graham’s conservative credentials with four months left until the June 10 primary. The ads are backed by a six-figure buy and will run statewide for more than a week, according to a release.

The TV ad notes Graham “opposed Obamacare from Day One,” “led the fight on Benghazi,” and is “a conservative leader who gets things done.” Full story

October 22, 2013

The 7 Republican Senators Most Vulnerable to a Primary

The 7 Republican Senators Most Vulnerable to a Primary

Enzi is vulnerable to a primary challenge in 2014. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hard-line conservatives are rising out of the ashes of a weekslong government shutdown, emboldened by the possibility of adding to their ranks in the Senate next year — whether by picking up Democrat-held seats or taking out Republican incumbents.

Just two Republican senators have lost in primaries in the last two election cycles, but that’s not stopping a growing number of intraparty challengers this cycle. Conservative third-party groups and candidates hope to give more backup to folks like Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah, who led an effort to defund the health care law.

The GOP brand overall may have taken a significant hit this month and caused at least some concern within the party about obtaining or keeping the majority in either chamber in the next couple of election cycles. But the shutdown only fueled challenges to sitting Republicans.

It’s still too early to know exactly how competitive many of the challengers can be. At this point, there is a big difference in the competitiveness of the races from the top three to bottom three on this list. And as the most recent fundraising reports to the Federal Election Commission illustrated, nearly all of the incumbents’ opponents are starting out in deep financial holes.

Still, with outside groups such as the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund beginning to engage, a challenger’s money isn’t the only threat — and any of these races could theoretically take off.

Here are the seven Republican senators most vulnerable to a primary challenge, in order: Full story

September 23, 2013

Lindsey Graham Challenger Dismisses Financial Disadvantage (Video)

The candidate: Republican Lee Bright, a South Carolina state senator
The member: Bright is challenging Sen. Lindsey Graham in the Republican primary.
The state: This is one of two Senate races in South Carolina next year. Appointed Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican, is running unopposed in the special election to fill out the remaining term of Jim DeMint. Both races are rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
The candidate’s team: Chris Sullivan (general consultant)

Full story

September 13, 2013

This Cycle’s Top 8 Most Fascinating Recruits (So Far)

This Cycles Top 8 Most Fascinating Recruits (So Far)

Walter, a former star quarterback at Arizona State University who went on to play for the Oakland Raiders, is aiming to unseat Sinema. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images File Photo)

A beekeeper, a Gitmo commander and a Bosnian war refugee all want the same thing. It’s not a riddle; it’s the 2014 election cycle.

Congressional candidates often boast a résumé that includes time in local office, terms in the legislature or experience running a business. It’s a formula that instantly boosts name identification with voters.

But the cast of congressional candidates usually offers some upstarts — people with an unusual background, a unique curriculum vitae or an unconventional motivation that gives them a shot at Congress.

Of course, a special résumé does not translate to victory. Several of last cycle’s most-hyped candidates — including Ret. Air Force Col. Martha E. McSally, an Arizona Republican, and former astronaut Jose M. Hernandez, a California Democrat — lost their House races, to Ron Barber and Jeff Denham, respectively. (McSally is running again in 2014).

But an out-of-the-box background can help a candidate break through a tough field. Just ask the former world champion USA Volleyball team member, the double-amputee war hero or the reindeer farmer who won House races last cycle.

In no special order, here are several of this election’s most fascinating candidates for Congress: Full story

August 5, 2013

Lindsey Graham’s Primary Strength in Numbers

Lindsey Grahams Primary Strength in Numbers

Graham got a new challenger on his right this weekend. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It was inevitable that the field of primary challengers to Lindsey Graham would grow, but the sheer number of ambitious Republicans seeking to oust the South Carolina senator may end up being the undoing of them all.

With a new opponent entering the race over the weekend and another poised to join soon, the question is whether enough variables could fall into place to cause a different result this time.

It’s possible, according to several South Carolina GOP operatives who spoke with CQ Roll Call in recent days. But it would take an extraordinarily large amount of money, extensive support from outside groups and an unlikely coalescing of the anti-Graham vote. A top challenger would need all of those things, plus cash to spare for a runoff. Full story

June 28, 2013

Tea Party Fund Targets Graham, Alexander, Collins for Immigration Votes

The leader of the Senate Conservatives Fund emailed supporters on Friday promising to back primary challenges against three Republican incumbents who voted for the Senate immigration bill that passed the chamber Thursday.

“There are three incumbents up next year who supported the amnesty bill,” SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins wrote, calling out Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Lamar Alexander or Tennessee, and Susan Collins of Maine. “If strong, conservative challengers emerge in these races, we will support them.”

Senate Conservatives Fund is a tea-party aligned group that was founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint. The South Carolina Republican is no longer with the group. Graham, a member of the bipartisan “gang of eight” that drafted the underlying immigration overhaul, indicated in a Thursday Senate floor speech that he knew his position on immigration might create primary problems for him.

“I have never been more proud to be involved in an issue than I have trying to fix illegal immigration because it is a national security threat, it is an economic threat, and it is a cultural threat,” Graham said.

“As to my politics, I am doing great among Hispanics in South Carolina. The bad news is that there are not very many who vote in the Republican primary,” he added. Full story

April 29, 2013

Remainders: Special (Election) Report

What you might have missed “At the Races” on Monday …

  • #MAsen: The special-election primary to fill Secretary of State John Kerry’s Senate seat is Tuesday. Here are the five things to know about the race.
  • #SC01: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee upped its television ad buys against former Gov. Mark Sanford in this special election.
  • #SCsen: Vice President Joesph R. Biden Jr. teased that he would endorse Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., or “rip” his skin off — whatever helps his 2014 prospects.
  • #IAsen: Iowa Republican Gov. Terry E. Branstad suggested (again) that he does not think Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, would make the best GOP Senate candidate.
  • #MIsen: Rep. Gary Peters, a Democrat, will formally announce his candidacy for Senate on Wednesday in the town where he was raised, Rochester Hills.

What we’re mulling on Monday … Full story

Biden Needles Graham: ‘I Will Rip Your Skin Off’ #SCsen

Biden Needles Graham: I Will Rip Your Skin Off #SCsen

Graham is up for re-election in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. offered Sen. Lindsey Graham his support for re-election — including a pledge to “rip your skin off for you” if it helps the South Carolina Republican’s 2014 prospects.

“I told him I’ll come to South Carolina and campaign for him or against him, whichever will help the most — I know which it’ll be,” Biden said at an April 26 forum hosted by The McCain Institute for International Leadership. ”I’m going down there to to the JJ next weekend, Lindsey, and I assure you I will rip your skin off for you, and I expect a thank-you note.”

Full story

February 4, 2013

South Carolina: State Senator ‘Leaning Toward’ Graham Primary Challenge

South Carolina: State Senator Leaning Toward Graham Primary Challenge

Conservatives expect Graham will face a primary challenge in 2014, but it remains to be seen how competitive the race will be. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

South Carolina Republican state Sen. Lee Bright is “leaning toward” taking on Sen. Lindsey Graham in a primary.

“It’s something I’m considering. I haven’t made a final decision,” Bright told CQ Roll Call in a short telephone interview Monday afternoon, noting he expected to make a choice within the next 60 days. “There’s a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party, and I think Lindsey’s on the opposite side [from me].”

Asked on what issues they disagreed, Bright listed a comprehensive immigration overhaul, “man-made global warming” and the debt ceiling. Bright also griped that Graham “always wants to seem to rush to compromise” with Democrats. Full story

December 17, 2012

South Carolina: Haley’s Senate Appointment of Scott Draws Wide Praise

South Carolina: Haleys Senate Appointment of Scott Draws Wide Praise

Scott will succeed DeMint in the Senate in January. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley, flanked by the Palmetto State’s GOP congressional delegation, officially appointed Republican Rep. Tim Scott to succeed Sen. Jim DeMint on Monday.

“It is a great day in South Carolina,” Haley said at a news conference at the state capitol in Columbia. “It is a historic day in South Carolina.”

Scott is expected to be sworn into the Senate when the new Congress convenes on Jan. 3. He will run in a November 2014 special election to fill out the remainder of DeMint’s current term, which runs through 2016. His appointment means that the chamber will once again have African-American representation. The last black senator was Illinois Democrat Roland Burris, an appointee who served from 2009 to 2010. Scott will be the first black GOP senator from the South since 1881.

“This man loves South Carolina and he is very aware that what he does and every vote he makes affects South Carolina and affects our country,” Haley added. “And so it was with that that I knew that he was the right person. I have no doubt that he will fly through 2014.”

Full story

South Carolina: Haley to Appoint Scott to Fill DeMint Seat

South Carolina: Haley to Appoint Scott to Fill DeMint Seat

Haley is expected to choose Scott, above, to take DeMint's Senate seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley is set to appoint Republican Rep. Tim Scott to succeed Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., according to several news reports. The official announcement is expected to come at noon Monday.

Scott would immediately be up for re-election in 2014 to finish the rest of DeMint’s term, which expires in 2017.

DeMint announced plans to resign from Congress a week and a half ago to take the reigns of The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

December 11, 2012

South Carolina: Haley Considers Politics of Appointment

South Carolina: Haley Considers Politics of Appointment

South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley will appoint Sen. Jim DeMint's successor. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Gov. Nikki R. Haley’s 2014 re-election bid is expected to weigh heavily on whom she appoints to succeed Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican insiders told Roll Call Tuesday afternoon.

Haley is a rising star in national Republican circles and a tea party favorite. But at home, the first-term governor has struggled politically, fighting with Republicans in the Legislature and others in the party while enjoying lackluster support from independent voters. Haley appears safe from a primary challenge, but some polls have suggested that she could be vulnerable in the general election, despite the state’s strong conservative bent.

The Senate appointment could help Haley address some of these challenges, GOP operatives based in South Carolina and others with strong ties to the state said she is likely to take full advantage of the opportunity as she considers from a narrowed pool of five potential candidates. CNN first reported who was on the short list Tuesday, and each candidate carries strengths and weaknesses.

Rep. Trey Gowdy: Gowdy has tea party and conservative bona fides. He is not perceived to be personally close to Haley. Per one knowledgeable South Carolina-based GOP operative, Gowdy is the “unlikely choice for Haley, but for a future U.S. Senate race, a very good candidate.” Another source added that the Gowdy mention on the list might have as much to do with poking Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., as pushing Gowdy. Haley and Mulvaney have an adversarial relationship.

Full story

South Carolina: Haley Narrows Senate Appointment Pool to 5 Candidates

South Carolina: Haley Narrows Senate Appointment Pool to 5 Candidates

The shortlist for the Senate appointment in South Carolina includes freshmen GOP Reps. Trey Gowdy (left) and Tim Scott. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 1:27 p.m. | South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley has narrowed the candidate list to replace resigning Republican Sen. Jim DeMint to five candidates, according to CNN.

Speculation has centered on Rep. Tim Scott, but there are some other interesting names on her shortlist. Besides Scott, four more South Carolina Republicans are in the mix: Rep. Trey Gowdy, former state Attorney General Henry McMaster, former South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford, and state Department of Health and Environmental Control Director Catherine B. Templeton.

As CNN notes, one notable name omitted from the list is freshman Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney.

“As has always been our policy, we do not comment on any aspect of an appointment process until the appointment is finalized,” Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey wrote in an email.

Haley announced on Monday she would not be appointing a caretaker for the job. Her pick is expected to be made as early as this week.


December 10, 2012

South Carolina: Haley Rejects Placeholder, Putting Focus Squarely on Scott

South Carolina: Haley Rejects Placeholder, Putting Focus Squarely on Scott

Haley could make her Senate pick known this week. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Gov. Nikki R. Haley of South Carolina has rejected the possibility that she will appoint a temporary caretaker to replace Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who is resigning effective in January.

“I do not want to tie the next U.S. Senator from South Carolina’s hands regarding future office,” she wrote in a statement Monday. “I do not want to deprive our state’s citizens of the chance to render their judgment on the appointee’s performance by way of their vote. Most importantly, while I am an avid supporter of term limits, I do not want the effectiveness of our state’s new U.S. Senator to be undermined by the fact that he or she will automatically be leaving the office such a very short time after assuming it.” Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...