Since there aren’t enough Republican candidates hugging the fringe of polling numbers, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham has signaled intentions to officially join the race on June 1. Graham formed an exploratory committee back in January, and many have speculated his real intention lies in derailing Rand Paul from the nomination over differences on foreign policy.
Report from CBS News:
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham will announce his 2016 presidential bid on June 1, Republican sources tell Politico.
Graham, 59, has built a reputation as one of the GOP’s most outspoken hawks on defense issues. During more than two decades on Capitol Hill, he’s championed a robust view of how American power should be used, and he’s framed the war against radical Islam as the most important security issue facing America today.
It’s a message he’s likely to continue pushing on the 2016 campaign trail.
“Ronald Reagan’s policy of ‘peace through strength’ kept America safe during the Cold War. But we will never enjoy peaceful coexistence with Radical Islam because its followers are committed to destroying us and our way of life. However, America can have “Security through Strength’ and I will continue to lead in that critical fight,” Graham said on the website for his testing-the-waters committee.
On some domestic issues, though, Graham has cultivated a more moderate profile. On immigration, in particular, he’s defied the bulk of his party – in 2013, he was one of the key GOP co-sponsors of immigration reform legislation that included a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. As he’s sharpened his message ahead of 2016, he’s not backed down from his support for that measure.
Graham doesn’t really have a shot at the nomination, given his tendencies to rile up the base over issues like immigration, but he does have the power to cause trouble in South Carolina and perhaps other southern states. His intentions may lie with having his voice on the debate stage to steer the party towards a stronger, interventionist foreign policy, as opposed to Rand Paul’s more libertarian-themed brand.
Either way, look for an announcement on June 1 as the pool continues getting more and more crowded.