South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who couldn’t gain traction in the Republican Primary even when the focus turned to national security, has suspended his bid for the presidency. His polling never got higher than a couple of points, and he surely got tired of yelling at a party that had ears for someone else.
The ramifications are not as limited as you might think. Sure, he was barely registering in national, Iowa, and New Hampshire polls, but he has some sway in his important third state of South Carolina. And even though his polling there wasn’t anything special, the state has elected him to the Senate three times. It’s reasonable to conclude he wasn’t doing better in presidential polling because he wasn’t competitive overall.
Still, he has a lot of sway over South Carolina Republicans, many of whom were respecting his role in the race and did not support another candidate because of it. I wouldn’t rule out his ability to rally the cause of an establishment candidate who wins New Hampshire. (Fellow hawk and senator Marco Rubio particularly fits the bill.) He might even play kingmaker if Trump and Cruz split each others’ vote there, which would boost the likelihood of a brokered convention, teased earlier today. More on that in the next post.