The campaign of Lindsey Graham, the two-term Republican senator from South Carolina facing several primary challengers this year, is making significant radio and TV ad buys this week in markets around the Palmetto State. The purchase price of the ads is reportedly $220,000.
"The ads will start running on radio and TV Wednesday and air through Feb. 24," reports Politico. "They can be seen and heard in the Charleston, Columbia, Greenville-Spartanburg, Florence, Augusta, Savannah and Charlotte media markets."
The Graham campaign released a 60-second radio ad that touts the Republican's opposition to Obamacare and efforts to investigate the Obama administration's response to the Benghazi attack. "On Obamacare, Lindsey Graham voted 'no,' and is fighting to repeal it," says one voiceover. The ad also notes Graham's fight against the National Labor Relations Board's suit against Boeing, which relocated a plant to South Carolina.
"A true conservative, Senator Graham was ranked one of the Senate's top five spending cutters," says another voiceover. "Lindsey Graham: the conservative who gets things done." Listen to the ad:
Graham has five primary challengers, all of whom argue the state deserves more conservative representation in the Senate. His support for comprehensive immigration reform and votes for President Obama's judicial appointments top the list of conservative complaints against Graham.
Last week, the Graham campaign released an internal poll showing the senator with 53 percent support in the primary, which will be held on June 10. If Graham can hold those numbers, he would clear the 50 percent threshold to avoid a runoff. But state senator Lee Bright, considered Graham's closest challenger, responded by releasing his own poll showing Graham getting just 46 percent. Moreover, the Bright poll found only 38 percent said Graham deserved to be reelected. Bright polled ahead of the other challengers, getting 17 percent support.
Graham disputed the claim that he's not conservative enough in a recent WEEKLY STANDARD story:
Graham protests that, for all his unorthodoxies, he is in line with the mainstream of South Carolina voters. What about the charge that he’s a Republican in name only, not a true believer? “If you look at my voting record and my approach to fiscal and social conservative issues, I’m, by any reasonable definition, conservative,” he says. “What I’m not is a person that rejects the idea of trying to solve the problem. And for some, it’s not enough to agree with them on the issue. You have to hate the other side. I’m not going to live my life hating. I don’t have to. To some, the only way to prove you’re conservative is just to tear the other people limb from limb. I can throw a punch, but I also can get something done.”
Graham’s lifetime rating by the American Conservative Union is 89 out of 100. He is one of the pro-life movement’s strongest allies in Congress, most recently as the author of a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation with certain exceptions. In the Obama era, Graham has voted against all of the major legislative efforts of the Democratic agenda, including the stimulus, the Dodd-Frank financial reform package, and Obamacare. When Graham was in the House of Representatives, he made a name for himself on C-SPAN as an incisive interrogator during the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton. More than a decade later, Graham has pushed forward the investigation into the Benghazi scandal. In October, he said he would use his privilege as a senator to hold up all of Obama’s nominations until the administration allowed witnesses to the fatal attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi in 2012 to testify before Congress.
On national security, Graham agrees there’s a lot of energy behind libertarianism in the GOP, but he sees that as all the more reason to stand firm on the idea that America ought to engage—sometimes militarily—in the Middle East and the broader world. “I still think the vast majority of us are in the Ronald Reagan camp of peace through strength,” he says. “But there’s this debate going on in the party, and I want to be part of that debate. It’s not bad to have an alternative view. I just want to make sure my side wins.” It helps that he’s one of the Senate’s authorities on national security issues, regularly briefing the Republican conference alongside John McCain.
Update: Graham's campaign has also released a 30-second TV ad. Watch it below: