The Washington Times - October 25, 2013, 08:42AM

Tea partyers want to knock Sen. Lindsey Graham out of office, but former President George W. Bush doesn’t.

The State newspaper reported that Mr. Bush contributed $5,000 to Mr. Graham’s 2014 re-election campaign.


“I am extremely grateful and honored to have President George W. Bush’s support. With every passing day, Americans appreciate more and more President Bush’s clarity on the War on Terror and his strong support of the private sector,” Mr. Graham said in a statement given to The State. “It was a privilege to work with him during his two terms to cut taxes, confirm conservative judges, build a strong military and grow the Republican Party.”

Mr. Graham said that Mr. Bush was a bold leader who was willing to tackle the tough issues of the most pressing issues of the day.

“This type of bold leadership is missing in Washington today,” he said. “President and Mrs. Bush are tremendously respected and admired by South Carolina Republicans. South Carolina is — and always will be — Bush Country.”

Mr. Bush helped to fuel the rise of the tea party movement, which opposed the $700 billion taxpayer bailout of Wall Street and the increased spending during the Bush administration that added nearly a $5 trillion to the national debt.

Mr. Graham, meanwhile, has not shied away from criticizing tea partyers who think that he has been too willing to cut deals with Democrats, including on immigration.

He has drawn primary challengers from Nancy Mace, the first female graduate of The Citadel, state Sen. Lee Bright and businessman Richard Cash.

Mr. Graham raised $1.17 million in the last fundraising quarter and has close to $7 million in the bank for reelection.

The State reported that Mr. Graham’s challengers have raised a combined $500,000.