Graham gets assist from Pence in reelection campaign kickoff

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Campaign Report: Even the Post Office is political now | Primary action tonight | Super PACS at war Graham leads Democratic challenger Harrison by 1 point in South Carolina: poll The Global Fragility Act provides the tools to address long-term impacts of COVID 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 TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary 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 KavanaughMcConnell has 17-point lead over Democratic challenger McGrath: poll Davis: My recommendation for vice president on Biden ticket Kavanaugh urged Supreme Court to avoid decisions on Trump finances, abortion: report 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.