United States Senate election in South Carolina, 2008

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United States Senate election in South Carolina, 2008
South Carolina
2002 ←
November 4, 2008 → 2014

  Lindsey Graham, official Senate photo portrait cropped.jpg
Nominee Lindsey Graham Bob Conley
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,076,150 790,216
Percentage 57.5% 42.3%

South Carolina Senatorial Election Results by county, 2008.png

County results

U.S. Senator before election

Lindsey Graham

Elected U.S. Senator

Lindsey Graham

The 2008 United States Senate election in South Carolina was held on November 4, 2008. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham won election to a second term.[1][2]

Democratic primary[edit]


  • Bob Conley, pilot
  • Michael Cone, attorney


Conley stands for ending illegal immigration, protecting American workers, bringing our troops home from Iraq, increasing veterans' benefits, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, ending Wall Street bailouts, repealing the Patriot Act, cutting spending, and fidelity to the Constitution.[3] He is opposed to same-sex marriage.[4]

Michael Cone, Conley's primary opponent, criticized Conley for being too conservative, that "We've nominated a Republican in a Democratic primary." Conley was a Republican but left the party due to frustration over immigration, trade, and the Iraq War. Some have compared him to Republican Congressman Ron Paul, as Conley supported Republican Congressman Ron Paul in his presidential campaign.[3][5] Conley is considered to be a conservative Democrat.[3]


Conley defeated Cone in the primary election on June 16, following a recount, by a margin of 1,058 votes.[6]

2008 South Carolina U.S. Senate Democratic primary election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Bob Conley 74,125 50.3
Democratic Michael Cone 73,127 49.7
Turnout 147,252

Republican primary[edit]



Source Date Graham Witherspoon
Public Policy Polling January 17, 2008 52% 5%


2008 South Carolina U.S. Senate Republican primary election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Lindsey Graham 187,736 66.8
Republican Buddy Witherspoon 93,125 33.2
Turnout 280,861

General election[edit]


  • Bob Conley (D), pilot
  • Lindsey Graham (R), incumbent U.S. Senator


Conley, who had switched to the Democratic Party from the Republican Party,[7] was opposed by much of the Democratic establishment because of his controversial positions such as his vocal opposition to the immigration reform and same-sex marriage and his support of Ron Paul's presidential bid. A number of prominent Democratic figures in the state, including U.S. Congressman James Clyburn, supported Lindsey Graham over Conley in the general election.[8] Political scientist Bill Moore claimed “The bottom line is, by not paying attention to this race, they ended up embarrassed by what has transpired: a Republican getting the Democratic Party’s nomination for U.S. Senate and a Republican who comes across as even more conservative than Lindsey Graham.“

Graham had $3.8 million. In fact, he’s spent more time on the campaign trail for John McCain than he has defending his own seat. Conley only raised $23,628 during the campaign. Conley was so unknown that even Graham admitted “Almost no one knows my opponent. The Democrats really didn’t field a — make a serious challenge — in terms of trying to find an opponent for me.“[9]


The race was rated "Safe Republican" by Congressional Quarterly.


Poll Source Dates administered Conley Graham
Survey USA October 28–29, 2008 39% 58%
Survey USA October 12–13, 2008 40% 56%
Survey USA September 21–22, 2008 40% 54%
Rasmussen Reports September 18, 2008 41% 50%
Public Policy Polling July 9–11, 2008 32% 54%


General election results[10]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Lindsey Graham 1,076,534 57.52% +3.1
Democratic Bob Conley 790,621 42.25% -1.9
Write-ins 4,276 0.23% +0.1
Majority 285,913
Turnout 1,871,431
Republican hold Swing

See also[edit]


  1. ^ US Senate recount shows Conley to face Graham. WBTV 3 News. June 16, 2008. Accessed November 17, 2008
  2. ^ 2008 General election statewide results. South Carolina State Election Commission. Accessed November 17, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c Democrat Bob Conley offers conservatives a real choice in November June 18, 2008 Charleston City Paper
  4. ^ "aimhighwithbob.com". Aimhighwithbob.com. Retrieved 2008-11-29. 
  5. ^ Elonkey. Bob Conley: "The Ron Paul Democrat" June 23, 2008
  6. ^ US Senate recount shows Conley to face Graham. WBTV 3 News.
  7. ^ Graham's Dem challenger was SC county GOP official. International Herald Tribune, June 20, 2008. Accessed November 17, 2008
  8. ^ Graham easily wins second term. The State, November 5, 2008. Accessed November 17, 2008.
  9. ^ Republican Graham aims to turn aside Dem challenge | SCNOW
  10. ^ "U.S. Senate: South Carolina". CNN. 2008-11-04. Retrieved 2008-11-04. 

External links[edit]