Lindsey Graham, Looking Out for No. 1
By Juliet Eilperin
He's campaigned with GOP presidential nominee John McCain all over the country. He chomped on barbeque with McCain and his entire press entourage last weekend in Sedona, Ariz. Now, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) needs to get back home and look after his own political fortunes.
Spotted at Reagan National Airport Thursday night, Graham cheerily called out to The Trail and explained he was finally en route to South Carolina now that McCain had locked up his party's nomination.
"I've got to campaign for me. You know," he confided, "I'm up for reelection."
In fact Graham, who has angered conservative Republicans by siding with McCain on issues ranging from immigration and torture to a bipartisan deal on federal judicial nominees, faces not one, not two, but five potential primary challengers.
Buddy Witherspoon, an orthodontist and former Republican National Committee member, has already run a series of cable TV ads featuring illegal immigrants entering the U.S. with a Spanish narrator saying, "Gracias Lindsey Graham," and has suggested the first-term senator might abandon his constituents to join a future McCain administration.
Others who are publicly mulling over a bid against him including former Myrtle Beach mayor Mark McBride, banking consultant Tim Carnes, Summeville businessman John Cina and Mount Pleasant attorney Michael Cone. Cone is the lone Democrat in the group.
Still, Graham said he wouldn't abandon McCain for long. "I'll be back out on the trail," he promised, hustling to make his flight.
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