A GOProud challenge to Lindsey Graham next year?

posted at 8:41 am on March 12, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

Lindsey Graham has been busy ticking off quite a few of the conservative faithful lately, whether it’s attacking Rand Paul or dining with the President. Thus, it’s no surprise if there are rumblings about a primary challenge for his seat next year. But it may come as a surprise to some observers if the challenge comes from the ranks of GOProud’s officers. Enter Bruce Carroll.

It is with mixed feelings that I announce my resignation this morning from the gay conservative group GOProud that I helped found in 2009. I was recently elected Vice Chairman of the organization in order to concentrate on expanding GOProud’s chapters and grassroots strength nationwide.

Last week, speculation grew in South Carolina and on social media outlets about my interest in challenging incumbent US Senator Lindsey Graham who has been in Congress for 18 years.

In the spirit of transparency and honesty, I informed my fellow GOProud board members that I could not dedicate the time to the organization while I seriously considered the effort it will take to challenge Senator Graham in the 2014 Primary.

As Jim Geraghty notes, Carroll – or anyone else for that matter – will have their work cut out for them in terms of even getting a foot in the door.

If Carroll goes forward with this, he will have to complete a Statement of Intention of Candidacy (SIC) form with the state GOP and a Statement of Economic Interest (SEI) form with the State Ethics Commission. The filing period does not begin until March 16, 2014, and closes March 30.

He will have to submit a filing fee of 1 percent of the annual salary of the office multiplied by the number of years in the term of office (or $100, whichever is greater). This year the salary for a U.S. senator is $174,000, so if it remains the same for 2014, the filing fee will be $10,440.

What’s more, Graham may not be as vulnerable on his home turf as some might suspect.

Last month, Winthrop University published a poll that showed Graham with an approval/disapproval rating of 71.6/17.4 among Republicans. Among all voters it was 58.4/41.6. Those poll numbers came out after the Club For Growth named Graham its top target in 2014.

. . . no South Carolina Senator who served a full term has lost a re-election campaign since Coleman Bease in 1930.

Being the incumbent is not a small advantage, chiefly when it comes to raising money, something that Graham is very good at. Before he’s even officially declared that he’ll seek re-election Graham has at least $4.4 million in his campaign coffers.

Carroll may be facing an uphill battle from the get-go just in demographics. GOProud tends to do a lot better in the Northeast and the mid-west, but in South Carolina? It’s not hard to picture a general reaction of, “Well, sure. But you’re one of those, er… GOProud people, yes?” And even if there wasn’t that sort of hill to climb, the money and the starting name recognition and favorable ratings are pretty daunting.

Graham is still very popular at home. And with that war chest he’s got a powerful cudgel to smack down any attacks from his own flank. In the general election he’s pretty safe providing he doesn’t take off hiking the Appalachian Trail. Anyone who wants to take this fight on had better have all their ducks in a row, because it’s not going to be a cake walk. And if they lose, Graham doubtless will have a long memory.


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It’s not hard to picture a general reaction of, “Well, sure. But you’re one of those, er… GOProud people, yes?” And even if there wasn’t that sort of hill to climb

…what?

Jeddite on March 12, 2013 at 8:46 AM

this flaming hetero is good for $50

DanMan on March 12, 2013 at 8:49 AM

Go get ‘um.

Speaking of Graham………here’s the latest from that WackoBird Ted Cruz.

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/cruz-will-use-any-procedural-means-necessary-force-vote-defunding-obamacare

When the U.S. Senate this week takes up the continuing resolution to fund the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2013, Sen. Ted Cruz (R.-Texas) will offer an amendment that will prohibit funding for the implementation of Obamacare during that period.

“I believe we will have a vote on this amendment and I have said I am willing to employ any procedural means necessary to ensure that we do get a vote on the amendment,” Cruz told reporters today.

He’s a Texas WackoBird alright. Hasn’t he discussed this with Graham and his boss John McCain?

Kaaawwwwww, Kawwwwww, Mr. Cruz. Thank goodness we have folks like Lynley Graham in the Senate to cage you birds.

PappyD61 on March 12, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Graham is still very popular at home. And with that war chest he’s got a powerful cudgel to smack down any attacks from his own flank. In the general election he’s pretty safe providing he doesn’t take off hiking the Appalachian Trail.

excerpt: Jazz Shaw

.
Translation: Bruce Carroll has a “snowball’s chance”.
.
(a lot of things can change in a year, too)

listens2glenn on March 12, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Lindsay Graham is an obnoxious RINO-fied renaissance old guard dinosaur who is chiefly responsible for the mess the Republican Party is in these days. The man deserves nothing less than to be retired from office!

pilamaye on March 12, 2013 at 8:52 AM

And with that war chest

Ask David Dewhurst about that whole “war chest” thingy.

Ask Charlie Christ about that “war chest” thingy and the power of incumbency.

it can be done.

PappyD61 on March 12, 2013 at 8:53 AM

I’d vote for Bruce Carroll, except I live in Florida.

BigGator5 on March 12, 2013 at 8:56 AM

Would be fun to see how Miss Lindsey fights against someone from GOProud. LOL.

ctmom on March 12, 2013 at 8:58 AM

It’s hard to imagine two gay men running in a Republican primary in the deep South.

EricW on March 12, 2013 at 9:00 AM

I like Bruce Carroll. I read his blog. I would vote for him. Of course at this point, I would vote for almost anyone short of a Dem against Graham. Alas I need to make sure Corker and Alexander are replaced in my state first.

melle1228 on March 12, 2013 at 9:01 AM

And even if there wasn’t that sort of hill to climb, the money and the starting name recognition and favorable ratings are pretty daunting.

Sure, Bruce has a tough road to hoe, and victory is not likely. But neither was it for Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Graham deserves a serious challenge, at least.

irishspy on March 12, 2013 at 9:04 AM

Being a “confirmed bachelor,” Graham would do well to steer clear of the whole G-A-Y issue.

SWLiP on March 12, 2013 at 9:04 AM

melle1228 on March 12, 2013 at 9:01 AM

That’s another reason I moved to NW MS from “Mempho”(as Handsome Jimmy Valiant used to call it).

kingsjester on March 12, 2013 at 9:09 AM

Lindsay Graham is an obnoxious RINO-fied renaissance old guard dinosaur who is chiefly responsible for the mess the Republican Party is in these days. The man deserves nothing less than to be retired from office!

pilamaye on March 12, 2013 at 8:52 AM

I agree, I agree.

But conducting a theatre show to pretend to be replacing him is a sad commentary on the Right.

Graham has a lot of support in his state due to the military/defense industry there (SC) and all the jobs in those industries. They obviously overlook a great deal of Graham’s failures because he’s delivering some satisfaction to them.

The GOP NEEDS someone to replace Graham or they need Graham to have some sort of psychological epiphany, whatever works.

I doubt this guy, though, from GOProud, is the answer to make that change. It sounds like some sort of puppet show by trendy people in the blogosphere.

Lourdes on March 12, 2013 at 9:10 AM

He will have to submit a filing fee of 1 percent of the annual salary of the office multiplied by the number of years in the term of office (or $100, whichever is greater). This year the salary for a U.S. senator is $174,000, so if it remains the same for 2014, the filing fee will be $10,440.

So, to even consider running for U.S. Senate, you have to pay a “filing fee” of over $10,000?

How is that any more appropriate than a “poll tax”?

In my opinion, the intention of both the “fee” and the “tax” is the same… to keep certain people from running for office or voting.

Poll taxes were made unconstitutional by the 24th Amendment:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

If it is unconstitutional to deny or abridge the right to vote for Senators by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax, then why is it acceptable to deny or abridge the right to run for Senator by reason of failure to pay any fee or tax?

ITguy on March 12, 2013 at 9:11 AM

He has my vote.

cadams on March 12, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Being a “confirmed bachelor,” Graham would do well to steer clear of the whole G-A-Y issue.

SWLiP on March 12, 2013 at 9:04 AM

Carroll’s going to nudge Graham out of the closet.

That’s the real purpose.

Take the Tea Party tactic and apply it to sexuality.

They’re going to primary gay GOP’ers who vote against the cause.

budfox on March 12, 2013 at 9:12 AM

So the question for voters will be, “Do you like your gays in or out of the closet?”

Kungfoochimp on March 12, 2013 at 9:13 AM

Eh, if Linseed was primaried he would pull a Crist and “officially” switch parties.

Bishop on March 12, 2013 at 9:17 AM

I would not put it past the Democrats to slam this guy’s sexuality to get the seat, not would I put it past the media to keep quiet.

The only thing I have heard about him is his sexuality, that does not qualify you for the Senate.

Graham is not unbeatable, especially with the Club for Growth on our side, we just need to hit him hard with a bold, attractive candidate. We’re not going to get it, but imagine if a big voice were to come out against Graham like DeMint or Haley, now that would mean something.

Daemonocracy on March 12, 2013 at 9:18 AM

Carroll’s going to nudge Graham out of the closet.

That’s the real purpose.

Take the Tea Party tactic and apply it to sexuality.

They’re going to primary gay GOP’ers who vote against the cause.

budfox on March 12, 2013 at 9:12 AM

I don’t think that is Carroll’s take at all. Carroll is vocal about civil unions but not gay marriage and also vocal about constitutional protections for churches. I think it was the going against Paul that made Carroll sit up and take notice.

I would be the first person to say that there is a hidden agenda to the ghey mafia, but really not every ghey is a part of it.

melle1228 on March 12, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Carroll may be facing an uphill battle from the get-go just in demographics. GOProud tends to do a lot better in the Northeast and the mid-west, but in South Carolina? It’s not hard to picture a general reaction of, “Well, sure. But you’re one of those, er… GOProud people, yes?”

I would crawl across broken glass to vote against Graham if I lived in South Carolina, but that being said, this guy does not seem like the best challenger given that GOProud is practically the definition of the liberal wing of the Republican Party.

Doomberg on March 12, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Graham is still very popular at home.

Proof that SC has the dumbest conservatives in the nation- rivaled only by the ones in WV who vote for Manchin.

Jon0815 on March 12, 2013 at 9:29 AM

I wonder how much of a shambles the Democrat Party in South Carolina is. All they need to do is offer up a candidate who doesn’t make you laugh like Alvin. I mean, it can’t be that hard.

Marcus on March 12, 2013 at 9:44 AM

imagine if a big voice were to come out against Graham like DeMint or Haley, now that would mean something.

Daemonocracy on March 12, 2013 at 9:18 AM

It will certainly be interesting to see if a primary candidate against Graham emerges and wins the endorsement of:
former Senator Jim DeMint
Governor Nikki Haley
Former AK Governor Sarah Palin

I choose to believe that the Tea Party is strong enough in SC to unseat Graham with a Tea Party conservative.

ITguy on March 12, 2013 at 9:46 AM

melle1228 on March 12, 2013 at 9:20 AM

OK. Maybe not the cause. But he’s going to end up outing Graham.

LGB groups are going to jump in, whether Carroll wants them or not. He has to know that.

budfox on March 12, 2013 at 9:54 AM

I’ve always liked Trey Gowdy but saw that recently he dyed his silver hair a shiny golden blonde. Put that in the “What was he thinking!?” column. Dude, seriously.

Marcus on March 12, 2013 at 9:54 AM

I choose to believe that the Tea Party is strong enough in SC to unseat Graham with a Tea Party conservative.

ITguy on March 12, 2013 at 9:46 AM

I wouldn’t bet on it. I’m optimistic, but I’m not that optimistic.

gryphon202 on March 12, 2013 at 9:55 AM

I live in SC…as much as I hate Lindsey, this Mr. Carroll won’t have a chance in hell with winning in Lindsey’s district. Don’t forget the 800 lb gorilla in the room/district known as Bob Jones University! Try go & campaign saying that homosexuality is good in SC-4, and see where that gets you.

Several good choices of unseating Ms. Graham, and replacing with a SOLID, conservative voice are:

State Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort)
Rep Trey Gowdy (R-SC,District 4)
Sen Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg)

The biggest hurdle inside SC is the corrupt SCGOP. The very definition of the establishment. The speaker of the SC House, Bobby Harrell, is “Tip O’Neill” of SC: spends everything he gets his hand on. For a Republican House/Republican Senate/Republican Governorship (Nikki Haley)…they sure can’t get anything done.

spongebobthedispatcher on March 12, 2013 at 9:59 AM

LGB groups are going to jump in, whether Carroll wants them or not. He has to know that.

budfox on March 12, 2013 at 9:54 AM

So…is this the fear of teh Ghey Mafia?

JFKY on March 12, 2013 at 9:59 AM

It’s not hard to picture a general reaction of, “Well, sure. But you’re one of those, er… GOProud people, yes?” And even if there wasn’t that sort of hill to climb

…what?

Jeddite on March 12, 2013 at 8:46 AM

Whaddya mean “what”?

Eh, if Linseed was primaried he would pull a Crist and “officially” switch parties.

Bishop on March 12, 2013 at 9:17 AM

No comment.

JetBoy on March 12, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Here is hoping they both lose!

astonerii on March 12, 2013 at 10:13 AM

All gay primary! Yeah!

Go Bruce!

Resist We Much on March 12, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Money bomb for a decent candidate and I am all over it. My goal is to give twice as much to the primary challengers of Roves RINOs as I used to give to the RNC!
The Repunks old fossils have to be gone and term limits forced upon the newbees!

ConcealedKerry on March 12, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Carroll’s going to nudge Graham out of the closet.

That’s the real purpose.

That’s what I suspect too. Having Graham come out would raise GOProud’s profile within the party. It would help the larger Party as well, showing that Republican voters aren’t homophobes, unless Graham ends up losing for it, of course.

EricW on March 12, 2013 at 10:21 AM

Enemies at both gates

Not the back gate, Jazz. Oh lawdy! Anything but the back gate!1!!

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on March 12, 2013 at 10:21 AM

spongebobthedispatcher on March 12, 2013 at 9:59 AM

You’re right on. I used to be involved in SC politics. Graham won’t have any problem in a primary.

Hat Trick on March 12, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Carroll’s going to nudge Graham out of the closet.

That’s the real purpose.

That’s what I suspect too. Having Graham come out would raise GOProud’s profile within the party. It would help the larger Party as well, showing that Republican voters aren’t homophobes, unless Graham ends up losing for it, of course.

EricW on March 12, 2013 at 10:21 AM

Totally wrong. Neither GOProud nor Carroll stand to benefit from outing anyone…particularly a direct opponent in a primary. Even a perceived intent to do so by Carroll would finish him politically. Not to mention, Carroll resigned from GOProud so that group isn’t connected to anything he does.

JetBoy on March 12, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Graham to be taken out by one of his own?

BuckeyeSam on March 12, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Totally wrong. Neither GOProud nor Carroll stand to benefit from outing anyone…particularly a direct opponent in a primary. Even a perceived intent to do so by Carroll would finish him politically. Not to mention, Carroll resigned from GOProud so that group isn’t connected to anything he does.

JetBoy on March 12, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Illusions do not a reality make. Of course they are connected. The fact that he was a prominent member of their organization at one time means anything he does shows on them.

astonerii on March 12, 2013 at 10:37 AM

The Winthrop University poll was taken last month. Graham has ticked off a lot of people here since then. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve heard his name taken in vain even more often than Obama’s. Graham’s facebook page was filled with derogatory comments over his derision of Rand Paul’s efforts.

Also, I’d rank the reliability of a Winthrop poll right up there next to a Harvard poll concerning politics. It’s, naturally, a nest of progressives.

scgas on March 12, 2013 at 10:46 AM

So there is going to be a sword fight in the primary and both candidates have plenty of experience.

Wigglesworth on March 12, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Graham better put his thinking cap back on.

Bmore on March 12, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Flimsy Graham has his faults, but a gay Republican is not the way to take him out in the state that elected Nikki Haley and Jim DeMint.

Speaking of DeMint–he was a great Senator, and we haven’t heard a peep out of him since he left the Senate to be president of the consequence-free Heritage Foundation. He could have been a solid conservative voice in the Senate for the next four years, possibly becoming a committee chairman if the Republicans retook the Senate, but he relegated himself to the sidelines, allowing Graham to become Senior Senator from the conservative state of SC.

Steve Z on March 12, 2013 at 10:59 AM

OK. Maybe not the cause. But he’s going to end up outing Graham.

LGB groups are going to jump in, whether Carroll wants them or not. He has to know that.

budfox on March 12, 2013 at 9:54 AM

I am thinking that it wouldn’t be smart politics to go all “ghey” with the campaign for Carroll especially for a campaign in one of the Carolinas. I really like his politics aside from the ghey issues, and even those aren’t that extreme. He supports the states right to choose.

Outting Graham or getting gay groups too involved in his campaign would probably be a negative when he is going to want to actually out Graham on his moderate politics to traitorous Dem policies not highlight the ghey things, but that is just my take.

melle1228 on March 12, 2013 at 11:06 AM

SC has a strong veteran pop and you know McCain will be out in force campaigning for Graham (a reserve JAG). Same way McCain won the SC primary in 2008.

Gowdy would be great, but when has a sitting congressman ever primary challenged a senator?

commodore on March 12, 2013 at 11:09 AM

I live in SC…as much as I hate Lindsey, this Mr. Carroll won’t have a chance in hell with winning in Lindsey’s district.

er…um…the entire state is his district

DanMan on March 12, 2013 at 11:13 AM

Graham will win a challenge from Carroll. Attacking Graham from the Left on social issues will make Graham the bearer of traditional values. That and Graham’s expertise in military matters and foreign policy and Graham’s general conservative record on economic issues will be more than sufficient to overcome the angst about him among some conservatives.

Phil Byler on March 12, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Would be fun to see how Miss Lindsey fights against someone from GOProud. LOL.

ctmom on March 12, 2013 at 8:58 AM

I’d send Bruce Carroll a little walkin’ around cash. This could be fierce.

Fallon on March 12, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Everyone has been saying that Graham is gay since the first time he ran for the Senate. None other than the head of the Democratic Party in South Carolina, Dick Harpootlian, tried to smear Graham as being “light in the loafers” back in the very beginning. All Campbell’s run in the primary will do is to spice up what will be a boring re-election of Lindsay Graham. Frankly, I don’t think that voters in South Carolina really care if Graham is gay or not. Every voter in South Carolina has heard of the speculation/rumors/attempted smears and it hasn’t phased them yet. I will be casting my primary vote for Lindsay Graham.

SC.Charlie on March 12, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Lindsay Graham has done a good job on Benghazi. But you never know when he will completely flip out and repeat MSM talking points. I suspect the media bait him with biased info.

Who are the other sc primary candidates?

Fleuries on March 12, 2013 at 11:47 AM

Who are the other sc primary candidates? Fleuries on March 12, 2013 at 11:47 AM

Currently Graham has no other primary challenger. And, the Democrats in the state of South Carolina are in such disarray it is truly laughable. For all I know Alvin Green may be running again. However, Democrat mastermind, Dick Harpootlian, is probably plotting something. He is on record making other antigay remarks. North Carolina and Georgia have openly gay elected officials. To my knowledge South Carolina has none.

SC.Charlie on March 12, 2013 at 11:56 AM

It’s hard to imagine two gay men running in a Republican primary in the deep South.

EricW on March 12, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Hard to imagine what the country elected as our current president either yet it happened. I’ll take an openly conservative senator vs. a closeted liberal any day. I hope Bruce Carroll picks up the gauntlet and pops the Linz across the face with it.

roy_batty on March 12, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Totally wrong. Neither GOProud nor Carroll stand to benefit from outing anyone…particularly a direct opponent in a primary. Even a perceived intent to do so by Carroll would finish him politically. Not to mention, Carroll resigned from GOProud so that group isn’t connected to anything he does.

JetBoy on March 12, 2013 at 10:30 AM

The group is not officially connected to Carroll, but if he were to win a Senate race, they’d get credit for launching his career. In the media they’d most certainly connect Carroll and GOProud, and inevitably consider its power to have increased within the Party. On the other hand, since Carroll doesn’t have much of a chance, bringing Graham’s sexuality into question would put social conservatives in the tricky spot of supporting a candidate who many think is indeed gay. And GOProud most definitely benefits from pushing against social conservatives in the GOP, as they are natural adversaries. As late as the ’90′s prominent Republicans have refused to associate with Log Cabin types because they fear social conservatives. When GWB made a point of accepting support from gay Republicans, socials conservatives were livid.

EricW on March 12, 2013 at 12:34 PM

I’d vote for anyone over Miss Lindsay. ANYONE, and that includes a democrat just to get rid of another mouthy RINO. RINOS hurt the conservative cause more than a declared democrat. They give the media the ammo to paint conservatives as being far right kooks when we disagree with the RINOs. So, we are much better off with them out of office.

they lie on March 12, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Speaking also as a South Carolinian, I agree completely with SC Charlie (and I also already miss Jim DeMint).

Rumors that Graham (“Miss Lindsey”) is gay have been circulating his entire political career. Unlike some fairly transparent political attack rumors, and despite formal denials on his part, many still find these rumors credible, and the few SC political “insiders” I’ve spoken to all take it for granted that he’s closeted.

This is hardly news in SC, and contrary to the assumptions by some that SC is reflexively racist/sexist/homophobic bible belt country, the reality is that most of us simply don’t care about what Graham does in his bedroom. Again, we just elected the first Indian-American female governor in the South (and the first female one in SC history) and we just put the first African-American Republican into the House (and now Senate!) since Reconstruction.

If Graham were to suddenly “come out”, and/or start pushing for gay marriage (which isn’t particularly popular in SC), or if he were involved in a true sexual scandal (a la Mark Foley or Larry Craig), then his sexual preference might turn into a live political issue.

But so long as Graham keeps his sexual behavior private then I just don’t see it moving the needle in SC. Graham knows this and he isn’t going to do anything stupid to make this an issue or jeopardize his seat.

On the issue of unseating him, I wouldn’t say its utterly impossible, but the odds are going to be pretty strongly against any challenger willing to step into that arena. Graham has all the advantages of incumbency, including a gigantic war chest, big corporate donors, and he’s completely connected with the “old boy” network that runs things in SC. Not only is he still fairly popular despite his RINO stance on many issues, but he’s also highly attuned to SC politics, and he knows how to grab media attention to boost his popularity at home when he needs to (eg like his recent lip-flapping on Benghazi).

So GOProud or not, I just don’t see this guy Carroll as a serious threat to Graham.

looking closely on March 12, 2013 at 3:26 PM

>>>SC_Charlie: North Carolina and Georgia have openly gay elected officials. To my knowledge South Carolina has none.

Believe it or not, we actually do have one:
http://tinyurl.com/d52krzz

There have also been other attempts, eg:
http://tinyurl.com/nvynas

looking closely on March 12, 2013 at 3:51 PM

LOL!!! CAT FIGHT!!!

abobo on March 12, 2013 at 4:09 PM

I was under the impression that Graham was the GOProud’s candidate.

sartana on March 12, 2013 at 11:11 PM