CENTRAL — The Republican presidential field became a little smaller after Sen. Lindsay Graham announced last week that he is ending his bid for the White House.
“I want to thank everyone who has taken this journey with me,” Graham said in a video message posted to social media. “You have honored me with your support.”
Graham, who announced his candidacy in June from his home town of Central, was the ninth Republican to enter the race — a number that has since climbed to 32, not counting the five that have withdrawn, including Graham’s withdrawal on Dec. 21.
“I got into this race to put forward a plan to win a war we cannot afford to lose and to turn back the tide of isolationism that was rising in our (Republican) party,” said Graham. “I believe we’ve made enormous progress in this effort.”
In South Carolina, Graham’s polling numbers peaked in July when his campaign hit 13.5 percent, just under a point of then-leader former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
A month later, Graham’s numbers dropped to six percent before continuing a steady decline as Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s points have skyrocketed in the Palmetto State.
Before his announcement to “suspend his campaign,” Graham was polling at just over two percent in South Carolina.
“Four months ago at the very first debate I said that any candidate who did not understand that we need more American troops on the ground in Iraq and Syria to defeat ISIL was not ready to be commander and chief. At that time, no one stepped forth to join me,” said Graham. “Today, most of my fellow candidates have come to recognize this is what’s needed to secure our homeland.
“I’m far more confident today that our party will reject the Obama doctrine of ‘leading from behind’ and will provide the strong leadership America needs to restore our military and take the fight to our enemies and do what it takes to make our country safe and preserve our way of life,” he added. “This is a generational struggle that demands a strategy and a will to win. I am suspending my campaign, but never my commitment to achieving security through strength for the American people.”
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.