On Friday, the House voted for a resolution to keep government open but also defund ObamaCare. Within minutes, Nancy Mace, who is opposing Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in the GOP primary, issued a press release attacking Graham for his past criticism of the defunding strategy. In just two hours, Graham tweeted that he supported the House’s efforts to defund the unpopular health care law. Such is the power of primaries.
I support the House-passed bill to Defund Obamacare. #SenateMustAct
– Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (@GrahamBlog) September 20, 2013
As recently as July, Graham said that defunding ObamaCare was “a bridge too far for him.” Primary opponents do tend to focus a politician’s mind.
Graham faces at least three opponents in next year’s primary contest. Normally, multiple challengers give an edge to incumbents, as opposition is split among several challengers. South Carolina, however, uses a run-off system. If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, the top two voter-getters face off in a run-off. Multiple challengers increase the odds that Graham falls below 50% and has to face a run-off.
Graham is no doubt a nice man and would make a good GOP Senator from a state like Maine. His representing South Carolina, however, is a wasted opportunity for conservatives. An East Coast Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) does a disservice to the Palmetto State.
Graham’s tweet in support of the House action indicates he is aware of the challenge before him. Few incumbents are so disliked by the grass-roots, both in South Carolina and across the country. A run-off election, with a single conservative challenger, would ignite national interest and possibly create a wave that washes over Graham.
His tweet in support of defunding ObamaCare was a good start. He now has to follow that up over the coming weeks.