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Posts in "S.C. Senate"
June 10, 2014
The primary challengers to two Senate Republicans quickly jumped on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary loss in Virginia, using the stunning news in an effort to excite their base.
“Eric Cantor isn’t the only incumbent from Virginia who is going to lose his primary this year,” said Milton Wolf, a physician who has raised residency questions in his challenge to Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts. “On August 5, it’s Pat Roberts’ turn.”
“What we have seen tonight in Virginia shows that no race should be taken for granted and all the money and position in the world doesn’t resonate with an electorate that is fed up with a Washington establishment that has abandoned conservative principles,” said Joe Carr, a state legislator taking on Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander. “From Virginia to Mississippi, a transformational change is underway that is being led by a true grassroots movement.” Full story
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.
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.
June 9, 2014
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Sen. Lindsey Graham — two of the most recognizable names in Congress — face primary challenges Tuesday from their right flank.
“I feel good,” Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said in a brief interview Thursday at the Capitol. “[We're] running like we’re behind and got a lot of energy. Just got to run through the tape.”
Both Cantor and Graham are poised to defeat their party foes, but their margins will reveal insight into their political positions in their respective states.
June 5, 2014
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham released the final ads of his primary campaign for re-election Thursday.
Both ads — a 30-second TV spot and 60-second radio spot — feature Graham ticking off his efforts for conservative priorities, including fighting unions and the Affordable Care Act, supporting the military and the Keystone XL pipeline, and continuing to look into the 2012 deaths in Benghazi, Libya.
The ads are part of a “significant six-figure statewide” buy and come one day after a Clemson poll found Graham taking 49 percent of the vote, just shy of the majority he needs to escape a runoff against a handful of lesser-known challengers. He still had $3.7 million on hand as of May 21, the close of the pre-primary fundraising period. Full story
June 1, 2014
After a relatively unsurprising series of primaries this month, June brings another collection of intraparty contests. More than half of the states will have selected their nominees by the end of the month.
Republicans will pick nominees in key Senate races in Mississippi, Iowa and South Dakota. Down the ballot, House primaries in several open seats will likely determine the future members of Congress from both parties.
Here is Roll Call’s comprehensive look at watch to watch in June. Bookmark this page, and check out our primary map for results from past primaries.
With primaries in eight states, this date marks the busiest night of the cycle.
Alabama: In the 6th District, seven Republicans are running in an open-seat race to replace retiring GOP Rep. Spencer Bachus. This district is located in and around Birmingham. State Rep. Paul DeMarco is the front-runner, followed by Club for Growth-backed surgeon Chad Mathis and businessman Will Brooke. If no candidate garners at least 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates will continue to a July 15 runoff. Polls close at 8 p.m. EST. (Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call Race Rating: Safe Republican)
California: In this House race battleground, the top-two vote recipients, regardless of party, advance to the general election. Republicans will also pick a gubernatorial nominee who could have an impact down the ballot in November. Polls close at 11 p.m. EST. Here are the primaries to watch in the Golden State:
February 26, 2014
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
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
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
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)
September 13, 2013
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
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
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
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
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.”
February 4, 2013
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