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Graham gets assist from Pence in reelection campaign kickoff

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOvernight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission Graham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents John Boehner tells Cruz to 'go f--- yourself' in unscripted audiobook asides: report MORE (R-S.C.) is kicking off his Senate reelection campaign with Vice President Pence on Saturday as the White House gives an early boost to one of its most vocal supporters on Capitol Hill.

Pence is scheduled to spend several hours in the Palmetto State campaigning for Graham on Saturday, making stops in Myrtle Beach and Greenville before returning to Washington.

Though Graham was a vocal critic of President TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE during the 2016 GOP presidential primary, he has morphed into one of the administration’s staunchest advocates, most notably with his fierce defense of Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughMedia circles wagons for conspiracy theorist Neera Tanden The Jan. 6 case for ending the Senate filibuster Laurence Tribe: Justice Thomas is out of order on 2020 election MORE last year when the then-nominee faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct dating back to his time in high school and college.

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"The vice president has been a strong ally and close friend in the efforts to confirm conservative judges like Brett Kavanaugh, strengthen our southern border, cut taxes, and rebuild our military," Graham said in a statement earlier this month announcing his appearance with Pence.

Though Trump remains popular in South Carolina, with a Morning Consult poll in February finding he had an approval rating of 54 percent, a Democratic opponent is likely to hit Graham over his close ties to the White House. Jaime Harrison, associate chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is reportedly considering a challenge to the three-term senator.

Pence was a ubiquitous presence on the campaign trail in 2018, appearing across the country to boost House and Senate candidates in a year the GOP lost the House majority but gained seats in the Senate. 2020’s Senate map is less friendly for the GOP, forcing it to defend a handful of vulnerable incumbents while offering few opportunities to go on offense.