Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has officially ended his presidential bid for the 2016 Republican nomination. Graham had been stuck in the low single digits, unable to dig out of the polling basement despite a few solid undercard debate performances.
Report from CNN:
Senator Lindsey Graham is ending his presidential campaign, he told CNN during an exclusive interview airing Monday.
“I’m going to suspend my campaign. I’m not going to suspend my desire to help the country,” the South Carolina senator said in a wide-ranging and candid discussion in which he acknowledged: “I’ve hit a wall here.”
He made the official announcement in an email to supporters and Youtube video posted Monday morning.
Graham is known for his quick wit and famous for his one-liners (just ask Princess Buttercup about his retort from the last debate), but he was sober, serious and emotional as he described his decision to leave the race just weeks before the voting begins.
One thing is clear: Graham still wants his voice heard on the direction his party is headed, especially with regard to the Middle East.
“Here’s what I predict. I think the nominee of our party is going to adopt my plan when it comes time to articulate how to destroy ISIL,” he said. “We’ve fallen short here, but the fight continues. To those who are doing the fighting, I want to be your voice. To those in the Republican Party who want to win, check my plan out. Hillary, if you get to be President, I’ll help you where I can. I hope you’re not. But if you are, I’ll be there to help you win a war we can’t afford to lose.”
From the onset of Graham’s entrance into the race, he seemed to start with a mission of targeting Rand Paul over the issue foreign policy and national security. I don’t think he was ever serious about competing for the nomination, but with Paul stuck in single digits, and Christmas fast approaching, I don’t think Graham saw a need to stay in the race any longer. He has near-zero support so I don’t expect his exit to benefit anyone, except perhaps Chris Christie or Marco Rubio if Graham supporters (the small number) defect to the remaining national security hawks.