While some conservatives have gone after Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., it’s looking less and less likely that he’ll face a stiff primary challenge in his 2014 re-election race.
Conservative Reps. Joe Wilson and Mick Mulvaney, who are seen as the strongest potential primary opponents for Graham, tell Politico
they’re definitely staying out.
Mulvaney was effusive in his praise of the incumbent senator. “I don’t think you can beat Lindsey Graham in South Carolina. Lindsey Graham is a damn good politician,” he said. “I know he goes off on TV and says things that drive my conservative friends crazy, but if you talk enough in this business you’re gonna say something that bothers somebody.”
Graham has taken conservative heat for some of his votes approving President Barack Obama’s nominees and for his bipartisan cooperation on issues like comprehensive immigration reform. But he won conservative plaudits for his recent successful fight against U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice being named secretary of state.
Graham’s approval rating among GOP primary voters registered 66 percent in a Public Policy Polling survey released last week, compared to 40 percent in June 2010. In the most recent Poll, Graham leads all potential primary challengers by more than 20 points.
In an interview last week with Newsmax, Graham called himself “a social and fiscal conservative.” This year’s elections didn’t represent a rejection of conservatism, he said. “The 2012 election is a demographic problem that came back to haunt us and can be easily corrected without abandoning conservatism.” The GOP should seek a conservative immigration solution that attracts Hispanics, he said.
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