A conservative South Carolina group launched a grassroots campaign Wednesday that aims to defeat Sen. Lindsey Graham in the 2014 GOP primary and replace him with a more conservative alternative.
Carolina Conservatives United, a nonprofit organization, said Mr. Graham has made a habit of saying one thing but doing another, selling out their limited government principles and showing “contempt” 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 GOP South Carolina] Sen. Tim Scott or the South Carolina Republican Congressional delegation.”
The group rolled out a new online video that knocks Mr. Graham for supporting the detention of American citizens without due process, the National Security Agency’s collection of cellphone records and the Senate-passed comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes a pathway to citizenship for most illegal immigrants.
“For the voters of South Carolina — when the issues are important — Lindsey Graham is reliably unreliable,” said John Ciccone, CCU treasurer. “South Carolina needs a senator who consistently represents the needs of our state, not the wishes of John McCain and Barack Obama.”
Despite the rumbling among the grassroots, Mr. Graham appears to be in relatively good shape as he looks toward winning a third term. As of June 30, he had $6.3 million cash on hand for re-election, and polls have shown he is on sturdy footing.
On Capitol Hill, he has been one of the most vocal critics of the Obama administration’s handling of the attacks on a diplomatic post in Benghazi attack. He also opposed the White House’s attempts to pass stricter gun-control laws, and remains one of the biggest supporters of fighting radical Islam, which he says is the biggest threat top the nation’s security.
But he also has broken with his party, including this week when he and Mr. McCain helped strike a deal with Democrats over the confirmation of Mr. Obama’s appointees to the National Labor Relations Board, which had accused Boeing Co. of breaking federal labor law by locating a new plant in South Carolina instead of in the state of Washington. The NLRB later dropped the case.
Mr. Graham also came under fire from grassroots conservatives after he ridiculed Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul for floating the idea that the U.S. government would use a drone to target Americans at home.