Graham gets assist from Pence in reelection campaign kickoff

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill UN biodiversity chief calls for international ban of 'wet markets' Graham asks colleagues to support call for China to close wet markets 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 John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill 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 KavanaughWisconsin Democrats chair bashes Supreme Court decision on voting: 'I am about to explode' Supreme Court blocks Wisconsin from extending absentee voting deadline A woman accuses Biden of sexual assault — and few liberals listen 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.