Lindsey Olin Graham (born July 9, 1955) is an American politician and member of the Republican Party, who has served as a United States Senator from South Carolina since 2003, and has been the senior Senator from South Carolina since 2005.
Born in Central, South Carolina, Graham graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1977. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1981. He served in the United States Air Force from 1982 to 1988 and served as a Guardsman first in the South Carolina Air National Guard then in the Air Force Reserves,
In 2002, Graham ran for the U.S. Senate after eight-term Republican incumbent Strom Thurmond announced his retirement. Graham won the primary unopposed and defeated Democratic opponent Alex Sanders in the general election. Graham was re-elected to a second term in 2008, defeating Bob Conley. He won a third term in 2014, defeating Democrat Brad Hutto and Independent Thomas Ravenel.
Referred to by some as a "war hawk" and "interventionist", Graham is known in the Senate for his advocacy of a strong national defense, his support of the military, and as an advocate of strong United States leadership in world affairs. He is also known for his willingness to be bipartisan and work with Democrats on issues like global warming, tax reform and immigration reform and his belief that judicial nominees should not be opposed solely on their philosophical positions. He is also a critic of the Tea Party movement, arguing for a more inclusive Republican Party.
On May 18, 2015, Graham informally announced his candidacy for President of the United States, followed by a formal announcement on June 1, 2015, in his hometown of Central, South Carolina.
Electoral history South Carolina's 3rd congressional district: Results 1994–2000 Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1994 James E. Bryan, Jr. 59,932 40% Lindsey Graham 90,123 60% *
1996 Debbie Dorn 73,417 39% Lindsey Graham 114,273 60% Lindal Pennington Natural Law 1,835 1%
1998 (no candidate) Lindsey Graham 129,047 100% Write-ins 402 <1%
2000 George Brightharp 67,170 30% Lindsey Graham 150,180 68% Adrian Banks Libertarian 3,116 1% *
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 1994, write-ins received 13 votes. In 2000, Natural Law candidate LeRoy J. Klein received 1,122 votes and write-ins received 33 votes. George Brightharp ran under both the Democratic and United Citizens Parties and received 2,253 votes on the United Citizen line.
Senate elections in South Carolina (Class II): Results 2002–2014 Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2002 Alex Sanders 487,359 44% Lindsey Graham 600,010 54% Ted Adams Constitution 8,228 1% Victor Kocher Libertarian 6,648 1% *
2008 Bob Conley 785,559 42% Lindsey Graham 1,069,137 58% Write-ins 608 <1%
2014 Brad Hutto 480,933 39% Lindsey Graham 672,941 54% Thomas Ravenel Independent 47,588 4% Victor Kocher Libertarian 33,839 3% *
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2002, write-ins received 667 votes. In 2014, write-ins received 4,774 votes.
Personal life Graham has never been married and has no children. He helped to raise his sister, Darline Graham Nordone, after his mother’s and then a year later his father’s death when he was 22 and she was 13. Experiencing the early deaths of his parents, Graham says, made him mature more quickly, and Nordone, who introduced her brother at his formal announcement of his candidacy for the 2016 presidential race, said she hoped to be with him on the campaign trail frequently to show voters his softer side. “He’s kind of like a brother, a father and a mother rolled into one,” she said. “I’ve always looked up to Lindsey.”
Graham currently lives in Seneca, South Carolina, and is a member of the Corinth Baptist Church.