Lindsey Graham 2016 presidential campaign

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Lindsey Graham
for President
Graham 2k16.png
CampaignRepublican presidential primary, 2016
United States presidential election, 2016
CandidateLindsey Graham
U.S. Senator from South Carolina
U.S. Representative from South Carolina
AffiliationRepublican Party
StatusAnnounced: June 1, 2015
Suspended: December 21, 2015
HeadquartersP.O. Box 2732
Columbia, South Carolina
ReceiptsUS$5,628,709 (2015-12-31)
Slogan"Ready To Be Commander-in-Chief On Day One"

The 2016 presidential campaign of Lindsey Graham, the 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. Although he was praised for solid, often humorous debate performances, the campaign never gained any traction, and Lindsey Graham suspended it on December 21, 2015.[1]

If Graham, a bachelor,[2][3] had secured the nomination he would have been the first unwed individual to receive a major-party nomination since unwed divorcee Adlai Stevenson II (the Democratic nominee in 1952 and 1956).[2][4][5][6][7]

Graham would have been the third unmarried individual to be elected president, after James Buchanan (a lifelong bachelor) was elected in 1856 and Grover Cleveland (a bachelor who married in his second year as President) was elected in 1884.[8][9][10]

Graham would have been either the first or second South Carolina native to become U.S. President,[11] depending on the birthplace of Andrew Jackson, which is disputed.


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,[12] and began appearing at events and discussing a potential Presidential bid.[13] 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."[14]

Graham speaking at an event hosted by the Iowa Republican Party in October 2015.

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.[15] 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."[16]

Graham made the official announcement of his candidacy for President on June 1, 2015, in his home town of Central, South Carolina.[17]

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.[18] Graham responded by releasing a video in which he destroyed his phone.[19]

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.[20] 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.[21]

On December 21, 2015, Graham suspended his campaign[1] and, on January 15, 2016, endorsed former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.[22] However, once Bush and Florida Senator Marco Rubio dropped out, Graham endorsed Texas Senator Ted Cruz on March 17.[23] Graham's endorsement of Cruz was unenthusiastic, comparing the choice between Cruz and Trump "like being shot or poisoned."[24] 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."[25] 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."[26] He ended up choosing to write-in third party candidate Evan McMullin.[citation needed]


Lindsey Graham endorsements
U.S. Senators (current and former)
U.S. Representatives (current and former)
U.S. Ambassadors (former)
Statewide officials
State legislators
Mayors and other municipal leaders

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Graham, Lindsey. "Lindsey Graham on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b Siese, April (June 7, 2015). "Lindsey Graham, You Are Not Alone: Bachelor Presidential Candidates Are Rare, But Not Unheard Of". Bustle. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  3. ^ LeVine, Sam (June 8, 2015). "Lindsey Graham Doesn't Think Being Single Will Hurt His White House Chances". Huffington Post. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  4. ^ Kugler, Sara (December 11, 2007). "Bloomberg: a Bachelor President?". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved May 29, 2017. The last unwed candidate chosen by a major party was Adlai Stevenson
  5. ^ Schwartz, Maralee; Stencel, Mark (October 6, 1991). "UNMARRIED CANDIDATES CONFRONT TRADITION". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 29, 2017. Adlai E. Stevenson, the divorced Democrat from Illinois who was defeated by Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956.
  6. ^ Phillips, Kate; Bumiller, Elisabeth (December 11, 2007). "The Early Word: Storming Iowa". New York Times. Retrieved May 29, 2017. The country has not elected a bachelor president since 1884, when Grover Cleveland won the White House.........The last unwed candidate chosen by a major party was Adlai Stevenson, the divorced Democrat who lost to Republican Dwight Eisenhower twice in the 1950s.
  7. ^ Baum, Geraldine (October 4, 1991). "Can a Bachelor Be Elected President? : Politics: Not since Grover Cleveland has an unmarried man made it to the White House. Enter Democrats Brown, Kerrey and Wilder . ." Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  8. ^ Kurtzleben, Dannielle (June 11, 2015). "Could a Bachelor Win the Presidency?". NPR. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  9. ^ Goff, Keli (January 30, 2013). "Bros Before What? Lindsey Graham Would Be Third Bachelor Elected President". The Root. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  10. ^ "Candidate (P60007697) Summary Reports – 2016 Cycle". Federal Election Commission. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  11. ^ Ostermeier, Eric (February 2, 2015). "Lindsey Graham and a Brief History of South Carolina Presidential Candidates". University of Minnesota. Retrieved May 29, 2017. And while it seems unlikely that Senator Graham will become the first South Carolinian in history to win the White House, he would join a fairly long list over the centuries who have tried and failed.
  12. ^ Topaz, Jonathan (October 3, 2014). "Lindsey Graham: Marco Rubio 'not quite ready'". Politico. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
  13. ^ Stephen F. Hayes (October 13, 2014). "The Return of the GOP Hawks". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  14. ^ Noyes, Ron (March 11, 2015). "As POTUS, Sen. Graham Vows U.S. Military Force Against Non-Compliant Congress". Ben Swann. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  15. ^ Schwarz, Hunter – "Lindsey Graham says He's '91 percent' Sure He'll Run for President", The Washington Post, April 19, 2015.[1]
  16. ^ Stableford, Dylan (May 18, 2015). "Lindsey Graham: 'I am running because the world is falling apart'". Yahoo! News. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  17. ^ Rappeport, Alan (June 1, 2015). "Lindsey Graham Announces Presidential Bid". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
  18. ^ Chris Moody (July 21, 2015). "Donald Trump gave Lindsey Graham's cell number to U.S." CNN.
  19. ^ Miller, Jake (July 22, 2015). "Lindsey Graham offers tutorial on how to destroy a cell phone". CBS News. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  20. ^ "CNN October Poll". CNN. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  21. ^ Glueck, Katie (2 September 2015). "Graham super PAC buys ad time in N.H." POLITICO. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  22. ^ Killough, Ashley; Wright, David (January 15, 2016). "Lindsey Graham endorses Jeb Bush". CNN. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  23. ^ "Lindsey Graham throws support to Ted Cruz". POLITICO. Retrieved 2016-03-17.
  24. ^ Graham: Choice between Trump, Cruz like 'being shot or poisoned' Jan. 21, 2016 Politico
  25. ^ "John Kasich, last Republican Trump rival, quits race". BBC News. May 5, 2016. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  26. ^ Bash, Dana (May 6, 2016). "Lindsey Graham won't vote for Trump or Clinton in 2016". CNN Politics. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
  27. ^ "McCain endorses his 'illegitimate son' Lindsey Graham for president". Politico.
  28. ^ a b c d e Katie Glueck (2015-06-15). "The power players behind Lindsey Graham's campaign: The South Carolina senator has staffed up with McCain alums and his own long-time loyalists".
  29. ^ a b c d e f g "Lindsey Graham builds South Carolina team". The Washington Examiner. July 5, 2015.
  30. ^ "Lindsey Graham's 2016 finance team includes billionaires, CEOs". The State. June 4, 2015. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  31. ^ "Lindsey Graham's 2016 finance team includes billionaires, CEOs". The State. June 4, 2015.
  32. ^ "Graham 2016 Announces The Endorsement Of Iowa State Senator Tim Kapucian". November 9, 2015.
  33. ^ a b "UPDATE: Graham picks Lambert as NH state chair". New Hampshire Union Leader. October 6, 2015.