SC-Sen: Is Lindsey Graham Going To Get A Pass in 2008?
by Todd Beeton, Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 03:40:53 PM EST
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.