Elections

SC Democrats want to oust Lindsey Graham in 2020. One is considering running

The S.C Democratic Party put members of its party on notice Thursday: We must find a replacement for U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in 2020.

At least one prominent S.C. Democrat even threw his name into the possible mix.

“Lindsey Graham has twisted himself into a pretzel trying to defend” Appeals Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, expected to succeed Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court, the S.C. Democratic Party said in a fundraising email Thursday.

“But Lindsey declared that Kavanaugh was a victim, threw a tantrum during a Senate hearing and continues to stand in the way of a real investigation into what happened. These are just examples of how Lindsey puts his party and the president over South Carolina values.”

Graham — a senior member of the U.S. Senate’s Judiciary Committee, which screens Supreme Court candidates — made a full-throated, fiery defense of Kavanaugh on Thursday, amid accusations the judge sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford, then 15, decades ago. Two other women also have accused the judge of misconduct.

The Seneca Republican did not waiver in his support of the judge Friday, telling the committee, and a television audience, “I’ve been told I’m a single, white man from South Carolina, so I should just shut up. But I won’t.

“This has never been about the truth,” Graham said, before the committee was set to vote whether to send Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate. “This has been about the delay and destruction, and if we want to reward this, it is the end of good people wanting to be judges.”

S.C. Republicans stood firm in their support for Graham.

“Thank you for having the resolve to tell it yesterday!” U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens, tweeted Friday.

“Thank you Senator @LindseyGrahamSC,” the S.C. Republican Party tweeted.

But S.C. Democrats wasted no time throwing out names of candidates who might run against Graham in 2020 — including that of Jaime Harrison, the former chair of the S.C. Democratic Party who now is associate chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Harrison blasted Graham on Friday, calling Graham’s defense of Kavanaugh “Oscars-worthy” and an attempt to win approval from President Donald Trump.

“In 2020, SC will elect a US senator and I will do everything in my power to make sure that person is not Graham,” Harrison tweeted. “Does that mean I will run? I’m considering it & am not sure. But if not me, I will work day and night with @scdp chair @TravRobertson to find the right person!”

No Democrat has been elected to the U.S. Senate from South Carolina since 1998.

Maayan Schechter: 803-771-8657, @MaayanSchechter
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