Graham wins South Carolina Senate primary

Sen. Lindsey Graham won South Carolina’s GOP Senate primary Tuesday as he seeks a fourth term.

Graham has faced difficulties in past primaries, winning only 56 percent of the vote in 2014, though he faced no difficulty Tuesday. Graham was declared the winner of the primary by The Associated Press less than an hour after polls closed at 7 p.m. ET. He was beating three other Republicans with 81 percent of the vote with less than 1 percent of precincts reporting. 

“I am deeply grateful and humbled by the trust placed in me by South Carolina Republicans, and I will not let them down,” said Senator Graham in a statement. “The November election will be one of the most consequential in our history, and it will provide voters with a stark choice between the Democrats’ socialist agenda or security and prosperity through free enterprise and security.”

“Let it be known: I’m just getting warmed up!” he added.

Graham will face off against Democrat Jaime Harrison, a former party chairman who ran unopposed in his primary, in November.  

“I’m honored to have earned the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate,” Harrison said in a statement while also thanking supporters and volunteers.

“After Lindsey’s 25 years in Washington, the people of this state are ready for a change,” he added. “Now more than ever, voters are fed up with Lindsey taking this seat for granted, and they are demanding a senator who will put their needs ahead of his own.”

The South Carolina Republican has seen his profile surge under the Trump administration, with Graham tying himself closely to the president and flexing his political muscle, including most recently from his perch as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Graham has strongly defended Trump, including during the impeachment proceedings earlier this year. Trump was acquitted by the Senate after being impeached by the House. Graham is one of the Republican senators’ leading voices in foreign policy.

His proximity to the White House has made him a top target for Democrats, helping Harrison outraise the Republican incumbent during the first three months of the year.

However, Graham remains the heavy favorite in a state that is reliably Republican, voting for President Trump by 14 points in 2016.

The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates the South Carolina Senate race as “likely Republican.”

South Carolina last elected a Democrat in 1998 with Sen. Fritz Hollings, who served for nearly four decades in the upper chamber before retiring in 2005.

Updated at 8:55 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump Lindsey Graham

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