The Republican primary field just got even more crowded.
Yesterday, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced that he would be running for president during a speech in his hometown of Central, South Carolina. Graham chose a place to speak that is very near his childhood home, a residence in a building behind a bar. He is the ninth person to declare candidacy. This move was by no means unexpected- his exploratory committee, “Security Through Strength,” formed in January and it’s unlikely he would have kept it operating if he decided not to run. He also told a reporter who was interviewing him that he was soon going to make a major announcement about his plans for the future.
Some political scientists believe that his run could have a powerful influence on Jeb Bush’s campaign, particularly in the South Carolina primary. Many people who would otherwise vote for Jeb may instead choose a candidate who comes from their own state and is more in tune with their political needs. Graham’s “hometown advantage” may or may not be enough to win him the primary in South Carolina, but it will take votes away from Jeb Bush. There’ a very real possibility that this could swing the early Palmetto State primary in the favor of another candidate.
Although Graham is one of the lesser-known Republican candidates, he does have one major strong suit that will make him very appealing to certain voters. He takes a hawkish approach to foreign policy, believing that America should deal swiftly and harshly with any nation or foreign group that would threaten us. As a senator, he has called for more aggressive and forceful military force and strategy against ISIS, Syria, and anyone else supporting the terrorist group. He stated in his announcement speech, “I want to be president to defeat the enemies that are trying to kill us- not just penalize them or criticize them or contain them, but defeat them.”
He professed that out of all the announced candidates, he has the most experience with national security, following that up with, “That includes you, Hillary.”
National security will be a major deciding factor of this election, and Graham’s strength in that area and willingness to defend our homeland may indeed serve him well.