Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to get Primary Challenge from The Citadel’s First Woman Graduate
Although well-liked, respected, and considered powerful by many in Washington, Senator Graham has drawn the ire of conservative grassroots activists from around the country and his home state in particular for his perceived “go along to get along” approach and close policy ties to the very liberal Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
Conservative and tea party types believe that South Carolina is a state that should be represented by, and is capable of electing, someone far to the right of Graham. They point to the State’s other (junior) Senator – Tim Scott – and his predecessor Jim DeMint (now at the helm of The Heritage Foundation), as well as the state’s very conservative Congressional delegation, as evidence that Sen. Graham does not accurately reflect the political “temperature” of State’s electorate.
Notwithstanding the fact that he is sitting on a very impressive campaign “war chest” of $6.3 million as of June 30th, he easily defeated a primary challenger in 2008, he is likely to get multiple state- and federal level endorsements from colleagues, and U.S. House colleague Rep. Trey Gowdy has stated that “Lindsey Graham is not in trouble”, a succession of votes, statements and positions that conservatives have found to be offensive – including the Senator’s role in the so-called Immigration “Gang of Eight” – certainly raises the ante in the June 2014 primary.
One thing is for sure. In spite of being from a decidedly red state, Senator Lindsey Graham has become a very “squishy” Republican. Time will tell whether or not his stand on the issues will have a bearing on the Primary election next year.
For more information about this primary challenge announcement, please refer to the Daily Caller story at: http://dailycaller.com/2013/08/01/nancy-mace-to-announce-primary-challenge-against-lindsey-graham/?print=1
Most challengers to the state’s 27 U.S. House members posted light fund-raising quarters, which could require a re-evaluation of the competitiveness of some seats or a need to draw bigger-named candidates off the sidelines.
Based on money raised between April 1 and June 30, two races are relatively competitive — involving the seats held by Republican Congressmen Steve Southerland of Panama City and Bill Young of Indian Shores. Other contests show potential to tighten as the November 2014 elections approach, despite financially underperforming challengers.
But so far, incumbents in potentially competitive districts, including Democrats Joe Garcia of Miami, Patrick Murphy of Jupiter and Alan Grayson of Orlando, and Republicans Vern Buchanan of Sarasota and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami, face little financial threat, despite optimism from across the political aisle.
Notable results and highlights from yesterday’s Congressional Primaries.
— As expected, Rep. Connie Mack won the GOP Senate Primary handily, but former 7-term Space Coast Congressman Dave Weldon made an impressive showing considering that he entered the race only two months ago.
— In the Orlando area, 10-term Member John Mica defeated popular Freshman Sandy Adams in one of the country’s most watched incumbent-vs.-incumbent races resulting from the re-apportionment of districts. Using his substantial campaign war chest (raised in large part as a result of his being the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee), Congressman Mica was masterful in re-positioning his image from the “entrenched insider” and “big spender” to that of a fiscal conservative, thereby neutralizing Rep. Adams strong suit. Surprisingly, none of the SuperPACs that had made their mark in this type of race against long-serving incumbents entered the race, which essentially sealed Rep. Adams’ political fate.
— In an absolute shocker to all those who know him, the well-liked and conservative-credentialed 12-term Congressman Cliff Stearns – Ocala area – was narrowly defeated (with a 1.2% margin) by political novice and Tea Party-backed veterinarian Ted Yoho. Stearns was well-funded and endorsed by fellow House members including VP nominee Paul Ryan, Rep. Michelle Bachmann, and Rep. Allen West. Among several lessons learned in this race, having a huge campaign war chest does not assure victory.
— In the SW Miami-Florida Keys area (new District 26), “J-Street Joe” Garcia won a four-way Democratic primary and will once again face off against our good friend, Rep. David Rivera. The latter defeated Garcia by 9 points in 2010, while Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (now representing a different district) beat Garcia by six points in the challenging 2008 elections. We coined Garcia’s nickname because he was the ONLY Florida Congressional candidate who was endorsed by the nefarious, anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian JStreet Organization and PAC in 2010. Sources report that the Democratic Party is not overly enthused about this race, and will not plow any resources into unseating Congressman Rivera.
— Also as expected, Karen Harrington decisively won a heated Primary, and will return to take on DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz in District 23. In 2010, Ms. Harrington – a local business owner – garnered an impressive 39% of the vote against the powerful and well-funded Wasserman Schultz.
In Wisconsin’s highly-publicized and closely-watched GOP Senate Primary, former Governor Tommy Thompson narrowly defeated two tea-party-backed opponents with 34% of the vote. Conservative businessman Eric Hovde and former Congressman Mark Neumann. Hovde received 31 and 23 percent, respectively. A fourth opponent, state Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, came in fourth with 12 percent. Hovde contributed $4.85 million of his own money to his campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission. Neumann had the support of the conservative Club for Growth and tea party kingmaker Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). The establishment favorite in the race, Thompson is widely considered the GOP’s best chance to beat uber-Progressive JStreet-backed Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin in November’s general election for the seat being vacated by Sen. Herb Kohl (D). Thompson served as governor of the Badger State from 1987 to 2001 and then as secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. (See http://atr.rollcall.com/wisconsin-tommy-thompson-wins-gop-senate-primary/)
Please note that some of the results may not yet be official.