- suspended campaign Dec. 21, 2015 -   




visits to 3rdQ '15


Lindsey Graham 2016


...announced June 1, 2015.  [FEC]

Sen. Lindsey Graham

Security Is Strength PAC

...super PAC formed late March 3, 2015. [FEC]

Conventional Wisdom

- "one of the strongest proponents of a robust national defense."

- Military service and experience.
- Not unknown nationally.1
- Possible advantage as a South Carolinian in South Carolina's first-in-tne-South primary.


- Questionable ability to generate grassroots support and raise sufficient funds for a national campaign.
- Perception that he is running a message campaign rather than "in it to win it."
- Support for comprehensive immigration reform.
- Not a particularly charismatic speaker.

Notes, Coverage and Speeches

March 7, 2015 - Iowa Ag Summit. Sept. 8, 2015 - Speaking out against the Iran nuclear deal.

-Speech on the Iran nuclear deal at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, Sept. 8, 2015.
-Speech on national security agenda at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, July 8, 2015.
-Announcement speech delivered on Main Street in Central, SC, June 1, 2015.

2015 - On June 1, Sen. Lindsey Graham announced his candidacy on Main Street in his hometown of Central, SC becoming the ninth candidate for the Republican nomination.  In a heartfelt speech (+), Graham touched on his humble beginnings and emphasized national security.  "I’m ready on day one to defend our nation with sound strategy, a strong military, stable alliances, and steady determination," Graham declared.  On the domestic front, Graham highlighted Social Security and Medicare.  "We have to fix entitlement programs to make sure people who need the benefits the most receive them," Graham said. "That’s going to require determined presidential leadership."  

Graham's announcement came after four months of testing the waters; on Jan. 29, he announced formation of Security Through Strength,
a testing the waters committee (+).  Graham was  strongly encouraged to consider a presidential run by Sen. John McCain; in a Jan. 13 news conference, McCain joked, "My illegitimate son Lindsey Graham is exploring that option."  Graham has strong critics on the left.  Blogger AZ BlueMeanie describes Graham as "a professional fear-monger" and "McCain's proxy," and the liberal Media Matters for America describes Graham as "Fox News' Ideal Benghazi Candidate" (>).

On June 17 Graham released an eBook, "My Story," which he describes as an "impressionistic approach...a glance back at the experiences that most influenced the course of my life for good or ill.”   Graham was a leading critic of the Obama Administration's nuclear deal with Iran, launching a "No Nukes For Iran" tour on July 20 (+). 
Graham was sharply critical of Donald Trump's remarks on Sen. John McCain, saying Trump was "becoming a jackass."  Graham received a lot of free media attention when Trump released his cell phone number at an event in Bluffton, SC on July 21.  He (or a staffer) then tweeted, "Probably getting a new phone.  iPhone or Android?"  A July 22 video "How to Destroy Your Cell Phone With Sen. Lindsey Graham" by IJReview went viral, attracting more than two million views in one week (>). 

Graham placed a major emphasis on New Hampshire, including a number of trips with Sen. John McCain.  (All that travel also had a downside; NBC News reported (Oct. 6) that Graham had missed 48% of votes in the Senate since his annoumcement on June 1). 

Graham never did manage to break out of the lower tier of candidates.  He was on the undercard stage in four of the five debates and was even excluded from one of the debates altogether (
+).  On December 21 Graham announced he was suspending his campaign (+); he highlighted his focus on national security and also on issues such as the debt and the broken immigration system.  At the time he suspended his campaign Graham had spent more time in New Hampshire than any other candidate, a total of 66 days
(+); next closest was Gov. Christie at 57 days.

- The first mention of a possible Graham presidential campaign appeared on Oct. 13 in The Weekly Standard.  In an article on "The Return of the GOP Hawks," Stephen F. Hayes quoted Graham, "If I get through my general election, if nobody steps up in the presidential mix, if nobody's out there talking — me and McCain have been talking — I may just jump in to get to make these arguments" [on foreign policy and national security].  On Nov. 4, Graham was elected to a third term in the U.S. Senate with 54.3% of the vote, defeating Brad Hutto (D), Thomas Ravenel (I) and Victor Kocher (L).

There had been some talk that Graham might be seriously challenged in his re-election primary.  He has been at odds with Tea Party activists on a number of issues, and several Republican county parties around the state even passed censure resolutions stating that some of Graham's positions were "fundamentally inconsistent with the principles of the South Carolina Republican Party.”  Graham built up a campaign organization and war chest that dissuaded strong challengers from entering the race, and on June 10 he garnered 56.4% of the vote while his nearest challenger, state Sen. Lee Bright, managed just 15.4%.

1. In Sept. 2014 The New York Times reported, based on data collected by American University, that Sen. Graham has the second most appearances of any individual on the five Sunday morning talk shows since Jan. 2009, a total of 85, trailing only Sen. McCain who had 97.  See: Derek Willis (in "The Upshot").  "Looking for John McCain?  Try a Sunday Morning Show."  The New York Times, Sept. 5, 2014.

Security Through Strength

...testing the waters committee announced Jan. 29, 2015.
Team Graham, Inc.

...2014 re-election

  this page last revised December 31, 2015