|Campaign||Republican Presidential Primary, 2016
U.S. Presidential Election, 2016
U.S. Senator from South Carolina (2003–present)
|Status||Announced: June 1, 2015
Suspended: December 21, 2015
|Headquarters||P.O. Box 2732
Columbia, South Carolina
|Slogan||" Ready To Be Commander-in-Chief On Day One "|
The 2016 presidential campaign of Lindsey Graham, the longtime senior United States Senator from South Carolina, and former U.S. Representative for South Carolina's 3rd congressional district was announced on June 1, 2015. His candidacy for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 election began at an event in his hometown of Central, South Carolina.
On December 21, 2015, Graham announced the suspension of his campaign.
Graham would've been the first South Carolina native to become president, as well as the first unmarried president since Grover Cleveland in 1886, as Graham has never had a wife nor any children. Fellow South Carolinians Senator Tim Scott and Governor Nikki Haley are currently considering possible presidential bids for the 2020 presidential election, if president Donald Trump does not seek re-election.
It had been speculated that Graham could be a potential Presidential candidate since at least October 2014, when he had stated that he would explore running for President in the 2016 election if he were re-elected as a Senator in the 2014 election, and began appearing at events and discussing a potential Presidential bid. Graham was previously considered as a possible Vice President for Republican presidential nominee John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, however former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was later chosen for the job.
In March 2015, at a Republican forum in New Hampshire, Graham advocated reversal of recent cuts in defense spending, and quipped: "If I were President of the United States, I wouldn't let Congress leave town until we fix this. I would literally use the military to keep them in if I had to."
In April 2015, Graham told Chris Wallace, on the Fox News Sunday show, that he was "91% sure" he would run for president. "If I can raise the money, I'll do it," he said. And on May 18, 2015, Graham informally announced that he would run for president on CBS This Morning, saying he was running because he thinks "the world is falling apart."
On July 20, 2015, Graham called Donald Trump a "jackass" during an interview on CNN because he was offended that Trump had criticized John McCain. The next morning he called Trump a "jackass" again in an appearance on CBS This Morning. In response, Trump ridiculed Graham for asking him for help to get on Fox & Friends and gave out Graham's mobile phone number. Graham responded by releasing a video in which he destroyed his phone.
Graham failed to qualify for the CNN debate on August 6, 2015, but participated in the secondary debate. Similarly, he participated in the secondary debates on CNN (September 16) and CNBC (October 28). In October, Graham was still only polling around 1% and his candidacy was viewed as a long shot. In early November the super PAC Security is Strength purchased a $1 million ad buy in New Hampshire for early which touted Graham's hawkish foreign policy stances and military service.
On December 21, 2015, Graham suspended his campaign and, on January 15, 2016, endorsed former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. However, once Bush and Florida Senator Marco Rubio dropped out, Graham endorsed Texas Senator Ted Cruz on March 17. Graham's endorsement of Cruz was unenthusiastic, comparing the choice between Cruz and Trump “like being shot or poisoned.” After Cruz announced he was suspending his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on May 3, 2016, Graham said: "If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed... and we will deserve it." On May 6, 2016, Graham announced he would not vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, commenting: "I think Donald Trump is going to places where very few people have gone and I'm not going with him."
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