POLITICS: Campaigns

Lindsey Graham ally: Graham will face ‘competitive’ Tea Party challenge

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Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke,Republican Party,Tea Party,South Carolina,2014 Elections,Campaigns,Analysis

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., will face a “spirited” and “competitive” primary challenge, according to ally and former South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawson, who nonetheless predicted that the South Carolina lawmaker would win reelection in 2014.

“We look forward to a very successful season, but certainly it’ll be competitive,” Dawson told the Washington Examiner in a phone message replying to questions about the 2014 race.

“Senator Graham has been one of the most successful politicians at the ballot box and has cut the hide of a South Florida alligator when it comes to campaigns and elections,” Dawson also said.

Dawson, who runs a pro-Graham super PAC called the West Main Street Values fund, promised that his group would ”meet the independent expenditure front that’s being mounted against the senator.”

That fundraising assistance will supplement the $6.3 million that Graham’s campaign has on hand, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. A spokesman for The Club for Growth, a powerful conservative group that was instrumental in the 2012 primary defeat of Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said that the organization is watching the race but hasn’t decided to intervene.

“Certainly in the Tea Party groups we have friends and foes, [as] in all type of groups,” Dawson conceded. “When you’re a senator who tackles big issues and big problems to help move our state forward and our country forward, we expect to not always be favorable in every type of group there is.”

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