Graham gets assist from Pence in reelection campaign kickoff

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators The 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill 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 TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away 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 KavanaughOn The Money: Biden asks Congress to extend eviction ban with days until expiration | Economic growth rose to 6.5 percent annual rate in second quarter Biden calls on Congress to extend eviction ban with days until expiration An obscure Supreme Court ruling is a cautionary tale of federal power 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.