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Carolina Conservatives United, a nonprofit organization, said Mr. Graham has made a habit of saying one thing but doing another, showing “contempt” in the process for small-government advocates.

“We never know which Lindsey Graham will show up in Washington each day,” said Bruce Carroll, the group’s chairman. “He’s more likely to side with liberal Senate Democrats on important votes than with [fellow South Carolina GOP Sen.] Tim Scott or the South Carolina Republican congressional delegation.”

In making her announcement, Mrs. Mace spoke about the influence President Reagan had on her politics, adding, “We cannot change Washington unless we change who we send to Washington.”

“Americans are waking up to the fact that our freedoms are being threatened,” she said. “There are powerful forces in Washington that consider individual liberty passe and the Constitution a dead letter. I believe our state desperately needs new leadership — someone who truly understands the challenges before us and what’s at stake and is willing to fight for the principles that make America great.”