Lindsey Graham’s primary challenge: Surviving next year’s primary

Is Lindsey Graham vulnerable?

Three Republican candidates already have announced they are gunning for South Carolina’s senior senator when he seeks re-election next year.

And if they can force him into a runoff next June, that could pose problems for the state’s most visible political figure.

Last week, state Sen. Lee Bright of Spartanburg announced he was running, joining Piedmont businessman Richard Cash and Nancy Mace, a consultant who also was the first woman to graduate from The Citadel. Still more candidates could emerge before filing ends in March.

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said it’s too early to predict outcomes, but Graham is most vulnerable in the June primary rather than in the general election.

“The fact that Graham has drawn these opponents reflects what we have all heard over the past few years — many tea party Republicans want him out,” he said. “If anyone, or the combination of multiple candidacies, forces him into a runoff, Graham could be in real trouble.” >>>

Graham’s assets include his incumbency and seniority — with all its advantages and built-in staff and fundraising potential, Sabato said. >>>

Graham already has $6.3 million on hand. >>>

Henry McMaster, former state GOP chairman and previous S.C. attorney general, is one of the more vocal supporters for Graham, putting his re-election chances at “100 percent.” >>>



>>> it remains to be seen how formidable Graham’s challengers will be. Shortly after she entered the race, Mace made headlines when her Twitter account retweeted a reference to Graham as “Nancy boy Graham,” a derogatory term used to describe an effeminate man. The retweet was soon taken down, and Mace later said the retweet was an accident.

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No senior Republican should be safe. We have been waiting for them to perform their jobs for four and a half years now.