But as primary day dawns Tuesday in South Carolina, Graham’s path to reelection has proven to be more boring than brutal. The half-dozen subpar challengers he faces are all wallowing in the single digits, while Graham has dominated the field throughout. The only real suspense on election night will be whether Graham wins with more or less than 50% of the vote. Less than 50% would put him into a runoff. More than 50% will close the chapter on the biggest nothing-burger in the Tea Party’s uneven electoral history, a potential non-upset that says as much about Graham’s focus and political savvy as it does about the neutered state of the Tea Party in South Carolina.
“He’s going to win outright,” predicted Allen Olson, the founder of the Columbia, S.C., Tea Party. Unlike the most vocal of Graham’s Tea Party haters, Olson said he is for limited government, balanced budgets, and Lindsey Graham. “I like the fact that he fights for conservative principles and that, instead of acting like Ted Cruz, where it’s my-way-or-the-highway, Lindsey Graham is willing to at least negotiate and talk with the Democrats and come to a compromise.”