South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has held state-wide office since 2003, and over the past 17 years he's amassed quite a few critics, especially since his turn to becoming one of President Trump's staunchest defenders. That's why a group of Democratic politicos and bundlers have announced the launch of a new political action committee (PAC) dedicated to ousting the senator, who's up for re-election this fall. The PAC is, appropriately, called "Lindsey Must Go."
According to Politico, the super PAC has raised $1 million of its $4 million goal to run ads against Graham. While the anti-Graham campaign might help Jaime Harrison, the Democrat running against him, a spokesperson for the Lindsey Must Go PAC said, "This is not about Jaime Harrison. This is about Lindsey Graham."
Graham has been a reliable vote for Trump's agenda. He was a staunch defender of Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court justice whom Trump nominated in part because of Kavanaugh's restrictive views on abortion. Graham also co-sponsored a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and he referred to the House impeachment inquiry into Trump's conduct with Ukraine as a "lynching." All of these stances make him fodder for Democratic contempt.
But as it stands currently, the chances of ousting Graham look slim. Fifty-four percent of registered voters in South Carolina support him, a February NBC News/Marist poll found, with just 37% saying that they'd vote for Harrison.
But that was before the onset of coronavirus in the United States, and Democratic Party leaders are hopeful that Graham's decision to tie himself to Trump might convince undecided voters to vote against him this fall — or even sway moderate Republican voters away from him. In late April, the Cook Political Report moved the South Carolina Senate race from "solid Republican" to "likely Republican."
The Harrison camp points to their impressive fundraising since January: During the past three months, Harrison, who was the state's first Black representative to hold the position of Democratic Party chairman, raised $7.36 million. Graham raised $5.6 million in that same period of time.
Harrison has been endorsed by Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, as well as Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.). He also has the support of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Party leaders are hopeful that four years of a Trump presidency and his administration's inadequate response to the pandemic will help carry a wave of Democratic senatorial challengers to victory. In addition to South Carolina, Maine (Susan Collins), Colorado (Cory Gardner), and Arizona (Martha McSally) are also home to Republican seats that Democrats hope to flip.
Graham faces off in a Republican primary on June 6, which he is expected to win. After that, we'll have to wait until November to see if Lindsey really does go.