Democrat: Party Should Work On Ousting Graham
Democrats in South Carolina want to send U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham packing. The South Carolina Democratic Party (SCDP) should work on it. Unfortunately, the party appears singularly focused on the governor’s race, where Democratic State Sen. Vincent Sheheen is running against Republican Gov. Nikki Haley in a 2010 rematch.
SCDP believes it can win the gubernatorial race on the ground, but there’s no way it will happen if Sheheen can’t keep pace financially or if his campaign continues to take the Democratic base for granted.
Haley, though vulnerable, already has a three-to-one cash advantage. And Sheheen’s futile attempts to appeal to Republicans – for instance, proclaiming to “personally believe that marriage is between one man and one woman” – won’t win him any love on the right or left. Sheheen’s uninspiring start and tired triangulation strategy should motivate SCDP to hedge its bets.
The party evidently believes it has a chance against U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, the first African-American elected to Congress in South Carolina since Reconstruction, who was appointed by Haley to the Senate last year.
A number of Democrats have expressed interest in challenging Scott in the special election, but he is significantly more popular than Graham among Republicans and will have the strong backing of conservative groups like the Club for Growth and Tea Partiers statewide. Scott has never run a statewide race but will win, easily.
Graham is an obvious favorite to win re-election. However, he is a top target of the Tea Party. He is well-funded but already has three challengers from the right and a fourth is on the way. Assuming Graham cakewalks through the primary, will conservatives vote for him in a general election? Don’t count on it.
Even Graham doesn’t expect it. His campaign plans to spend big money to persuade Democrats to cross over and vote for him in the Republican primary. A similar effort can be expected in the general election.
The fact is, no self-respecting Democrat should vote for Graham, given his atrocious record on civil liberties, relentless warmongering and eagerness to gut the social safety net. It would be a major embarrassment for SCDP if Graham’s campaign is allowed to sway Democrats uncontested, and it would mark the third consecutive time that SCDP failed to influence a primary for Senator.
Democrats have an opportunity to challenge Graham on his record while reaping the benefit from the GOP’s intra party battle. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee doesn’t think the race is worth its time, even with control of the Senate potentially at stake, but a credible Democrat could spark the interest of liberal activists nationally.
Jeremy “Jay” Stamper wants to be that Democrat, but he is not a viable candidate. Stamper is a convicted felon and appears to have moved from Washington State to South Carolina this year solely for the purpose of running for office, but he can’t raise any money to do so. His financial disclosure shows he is in serious debt and has no income, either.
SCDP clearly doesn’t want Stamper in the race. Chairman Jaime Harrison recently told The State that Stamper “hasn’t been a known commodity in the party. He just came onto the scene.” Harrison made sure to stress the importance of vetting candidates.
It seems like SCDP is more concerned with dissuading Stamper from running than defeating Graham. Why not try to find a decent candidate and accomplish both? It’s time for the party to recruit a real candidate to challenge Graham – or for a reputable Democrat to stand up.
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