Graham Defends Efforts Amid Conservative Criticism

Posted November 11, 2009 at 3:32pm

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is pushing back against home-state conservative critics who have sought to censure the independent-minded lawmaker, arguing that he will not allow the criticism to block his efforts to find common ground with others in the Senate.The Charleston County Republican Party this week formally censured Graham over his repeated efforts to work across the aisle on the economy, climate change and immigration. The county party also asked the state party to rescind a resolution commending Graham.Graham spokesman Kevin Bishop issued a statement defending the Senator’s legislative work and his track record on conservative issues.“Senator Graham has a lifetime conservative voting record of 90 percent and last year was rated the 15th most conservative Senator by National Journal. Like former President Reagan, he strongly believes elected officials need to find common ground and work together to solve difficult problems like making our nation energy independent and protecting our environment. Working to solve problems and being conservative are not mutually exclusive. You can do both and that’s what people in South Carolina elected him to do,— Bishop said.“Senator Graham will continue to pursue the same common-sense conservative agenda in his second term in the U.S. Senate as he did in his first,— he added.This is not the first dust-up between Graham and conservative activists in the state. He has criticized anti-immigration conservatives for racially tinged rhetoric and has argued that the GOP must be open to moderates.County GOP Chairwoman Lin Bennett told the Charleston Post and Courier that the unanimous censure vote was “an effort to get his attention. They’re just fed up, and they want him to know they’re fed up.—The county GOP is closely connected to the “tea party— movement: According to its Web site, the county’s party apparatus worked with a local group of protesters to identify and support conservatives running in local, nonpartisan elections.“A local group of conservatives from the Tea Party Organization, 9.12 and members of the Charleston GOP met and interviewed candidates for local races. They have made the following recommendations for local offices which we support. These candidates have been identified as conservative candidates for these local non-partisan elections. We are asking your support of these individuals through volunteer efforts or cash donations. Please pick one and help them get elected,— the Web site says.