Lindsey Graham suspended his 2016 Republican bid on December 21, 2015. "I'm going to suspend my campaign. I'm not going to suspend my desire to help the country," the South Carolina senator announced in an official email to supporters and via a Youtube video. "I've hit a wall here."
The centrist former four-term member of the House represents one of the most conservative states in the country, but he has repeatedly been accused of being a moderate, a RINO even. This of course belies the fact that during his time in Congress, Senator Graham actually has a 90% voting record in favor of the conservative agenda.
Perhaps his 2010 remark that the Tea Party is “unsustainable” and will “die out” has much to do with it; or, if we look further back in time, there is his condemnation of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse, his support of green energy, or even, his criticisms of former president George W. Bush’s Social Security reforms proposal.
However, the de-facto co-leader of GOP’s Congressional foreign policy team makes no apologies for his bipartisan approach in Congress, explaining that the party has shifted too far to the right, and argues that even “Ronald Reagan would have a hard time getting elected as a Republican today.”
As expected though, his stances have earned him the wrath of many within the party. In fact, in his home state, the Charleston County Republican Party went as far as issuing an official rebuke for Senator Graham.
But as Senator Graham pointedly reminded everyone before his 2007 reelection victory, “I'm going to get reelected if I'm doing smart things for people in the country and the party, and I care about the party, not just me....The worst thing that'll happen to me is I'll go home and practice law.”
In judging him, it is worth remembering that after the death of their parents, a 21-year old Graham took on the role of guardian for his 13-year old sister, raising her and paying for her college. Her sister once shared in an interview that Graham “has sort of been like a brother-father-mother all wrapped into one… He was always there for me.”
Senator Lindsey Graham had announced the decision to make a 2016 presidential bid in his hometown of Central, South Carolina on June 1, 2015.