SC-Sen: Is Lindsey Graham Going To Get A Pass in 2008?

Senate Guru alerted me to some pretty sad poll numbers out of South Carolina (Winthrop University/ETV poll results are here.) I knew Lindsey Graham's advocacy for comprehensive immigration reform made him unpopular among his home state Republicans but I didn't realize it was this bad.

A bare majority of likely Republican voters - 50.8 percent - approve of Graham's job performance, a new poll by Winthrop University and ETV found. [...]

More than 45 percent of likely Republican voters surveyed said they would consider voting for someone else in the 2008 GOP primary. Only 41 percent of GOP voters said they would be more likely to vote for Graham again.

As expected, the main driver of these dismal ratings is immigration.

Illegal immigration is the top issue that S.C. Republicans want the presidential candidates to discuss, surpassing even the Iraq war. Almost two-thirds of S.C. Republicans said illegal immigrants should be deported immediately, a position Graham strenuously has opposed.

Now, the same poll has Graham's approval among South Carolina Democrats at 29.8%, which would put his statewide approval in the danger zone of somewhere in the 40s. So by all accounts Graham would appear to be vulnerable, certainly to a Republican primary challenger if not to a strong well-funded Democrat in the general. But so far, it looks like Graham may get a pass.

[Graham] had more than $4 million in his campaign account Sept. 30, a massive war chest that has scared off more than one potential challenger.

Also, Graham's one announced opponent for the Republican nomination, Tim Carnes of Travelers Rest, has little money or name recognition.

Graham's critics had hoped Charleston developer Thomas Ravenel would challenge the freshman U.S. senator in the 2008 GOP primary. But the former state treasurer's political career ended when he pleaded guilty to a federal drug charge.

Not to mention the fact that, outrageously, no Democrat has yet stepped up to challenge Graham. Certainly there's still time. Jonathan reported last month that former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Joe Erwin is "mulling" a run and will decide by the end of the year, but if we're going to challenge Graham's impressive warchest, we need to start getting behind a candidate sooner rather than later. I'd hate for this article's headline to become a self-fulfilling prophecy:

Graham win likely despite polls

Plentiful war chest, no Democratic opposition almost guarantee re-election

Update [2007-11-5 21:18:22 by Todd Beeton]: Correction, looks like Erwin has already ruled out a run (h/t Ryan Anderson in the comments.)

Can someone who knows SC better than I fill us in on the potential challengers to Graham? I found a short list of potential Democratic 2010 gubernatorial challengers HERE. It's telling that the list is only 3 names long; one of them is Erwin, another is Inez Tenenbaum, who lost to Jim DeMint in 2004 and appears to have no interest in another senate run. The other name is intriguing:

James Smith -- The former House Democratic leader would be the one candidate able to claim war-hero status.

Tags: Lindsey Graham, SC-Sen (all tags)



Re: SC-Sen: Is Lindsey Graham Going To Get A Pass

Graham has always struck me as the Southern version of John Sununu, and we all now how endangered he is.

There's no reason at all why Graham should get a free pass.

There are no safe zones for Republicans in the '08 cycle, so let's get cracking on finding a candidate here.

by Dean Barker 2007-11-05 03:49PM | 0 recs
Re: SC-Sen: Is Lindsey Graham Going To Get A Pass

The media has rushed to declare Graham untouchable because of his war chest of funds. While formidable it is not the decision factor. The most recent polls show Graham at nearly 50% of Republicans stating they will vote for someone else. The Graham camp tries to spin those numbers to say that 40% is a strong rank for an incumbent. The people who will make this decision will be the voters. I am finding a greater than 50% desire to see Graham go as I speak across the state.

As voters visit and recognize that they have a viable option I am finding increased support for my campaign. The other weakness for Graham is that he has been so arrogant and rude toward the people of SC that he will have a hard time recrafting his image. I have invited him to a series of public debates to discuss the issues before the people of South Carolina. If he thinks he can avoid public scrutiny and plans to merely use mailers and advertisement in an effort to gain reelection he will have slighted the people he is suppose to represent for the last time.

South Carolina has a choice and despite the early declarations of victory, the race isn't over until all the ballots have been counted. Lindsey deserves to be a one term senator and in 2008 SC may just send a message to all those in Congress that despite how much money you have and despite how much the media loves you, the real power in American politics remains the will and voice of the average person.

by TimCarnes 2007-11-06 04:30AM | 0 recs
Re: SC-Sen: Is Lindsey Graham Going To Get A Pass

Erwin is already out of the running: 7252465

by Ryan Anderson 2007-11-05 03:56PM | 0 recs
Re: SC-Sen: Is Lindsey Graham Going To Get A Pass

What about Jim Hodges, Richard Riley or Bob Coble?

by Socks The Cat 2007-11-05 04:11PM | 0 recs
How does that saying go?

When in need of  information regarding Senate races, read, read the guru.

Something like that.

Tom Turnipseed is the only candidate considering the race. He has a impressive resume: founder of Turnipseed & Associates, President of The South Carolina Trial Lawyer's Association, SC State Senator (1976-1980), Democratic nominee for Congress for the 2nd Congressional District (1980), Executive Committee for Lexington County, Executive Committee and Executive Council of the South Carolina Democratic Party, Democratic nominee for Attorney General (1998), executive director of the South Carolina Taxpayers Association (SCTA) and President of The People Are Coming (70s). He has served or does serve as a director for South Carolina Fair Share, Mental Health Association of South Carolina, Citizens' Local Environmental Action Network(chair),  Americans for Democratic Action, Center for Democratic Renewal(Chair), Carolina Peace Resource Center and South Carolina Hispanic Leadership Council. He received the Holmes-Weatherly Award, the Unitarian-Universalist Association. He is also a talk show host and writer.

Basically this guy is a amazing leader who should be a member of the Senate. Maybe even president. But it's South Carolina, someone who is a board member for Americans for Democratic Action and writes for Common Dreams isn't going to be elected.

Still he did get 46% in his race for AG. So their might be some hope. Who knows.

The dream candidate would be Robert A. Barber, Jr. The guru makes the case here: 05/sc-sen-introducing-robert-barber-jr.h tml

Also he lists Air Force veteran John Cina,
Computer specialist Tim Carnes,
Former Rep. Tommy Hartnett (considering) and
State Representative Jeff Duncan (considering) as canidates or potential canidates. Hopefully one of those who have been elected to a office before runs and runs strong. I'll chip in some, just to give Graham hell.

by Populista 2007-11-05 05:19PM | 0 recs
Re: How does that saying go?

Southern Republicans like the ones in SC are racist scumbags. They will end up voting for anyone with R behind their names.

by Boilermaker 2007-11-05 07:01PM | 0 recs
Re: How does that saying go?

Some are racist, most are not.  

The war is no longer popular in SC. A lot of people have lost jobs in the past few years due to textile plant closings. A Dem with an anti-war and populist economic message would have a fair chance against Graham especially if Rudy tops the GOP ticket.

Graham certainly looks more vulnerable than George Allen did at this point in 2005.

by Sam I Am 2007-11-06 03:33AM | 0 recs
Re: SC-Sen: Is Lindsey Graham getting a pass?

Hard to see how a Dem could win a race in such an anti-immigrant state, unless they try to pull a Harold Ford.

by Bush Bites 2007-11-06 01:26AM | 0 recs
Re: SC-Sen: Is Lindsey Graham getting a pass?

And they have to make sure that it is a handsome white Anglo-Saxon (not any white such as Italian) version of Harold Ford. Remember "I met Harold at a Playboy Party" commercial? For learnt that a black man can be as anti-immigrant as he wants in the South but they can always say that he dated a white woman or even a white girl in High School thirty years ago, and the rest would be history. Actually, Ford was more deluded than Obama is at present. Why? Because he really thought he could win in racist southern state such as TN.

by Boilermaker 2007-11-06 02:57AM | 0 recs
Re: SC-Sen: Is Lindsey Graham getting a pass?

Have long have you lived in the South?  I have lived for many years in both the NE and South and the may experience has been that 21st Century white Southerners are no more or less raciist than white people in the Northeast.

Ford recived 48% of the vote in a strong GOP state; that I believe was a higher percentage of the vote than John Kerry recieved in TN in 2004 and comparable to what Gore recieved in 2000.

by Sam I Am 2007-11-06 03:38AM | 0 recs


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