On Wednesday, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott was asked on CNN’s Crossfire if he would endorse his colleague Lindsey Graham, who faces a primary challenge next year. Scott declined several opportunities to voice support for his state’s senior Senator, saying he was focused on his own reelection. Endorsing one’s colleague is almost rote in politics. Scott’s demurral is a sign of the difficulty Graham faces next year.
Graham faces at least three challengers in the Republican primary in June, 2014. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote-getters go into a runoff. Many local and national tea party and conservative groups are targeting Graham for defeat. The multi-challenger field makes it very possible that Graham won’t receive the 50% threshold he needs to avoid a run-off.
Sen. Scott was appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley to the seat vacated by Jim Demint, who resigned to become President of the Heritage Foundation. He faces voters in November to fill-out the remainder of Demint’s term. He isn’t expected to face any significant opposition, making his reluctance to endorse Graham very telling.
Graham, following the lead of his mentor, Sen. John McCain, has made attacking conservatives something of a sport. He rarely missed the opportunity to join some “group” in the Senate to undermine conservative positions. This would be somewhat understandable if he were the Senator from Maine. Representing South Carolina, however, Graham represents a wasted opportunity for defenders of freedom.
The midterms next year are developing into a titanic fight between those that would fight for freedom and those who are eager to negotiate its surrender. Graham is on the wrong side of history and his colleague, Tim Scott, knows it.