Republican Presidential Candidate Profile: Lindsey Graham

The Hill Talk is giving a quick rundown of each Republican candidate in advance of the first primary debate on Thursday, August 6.

Here is our profile of South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.

Quick Facts:

  • Born July 9, 1955 in Central, South Carolina, Graham graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1977.
  • He received his Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1981.
  • He served in the United States Air Force from 1982 to 1988 and served as a Guardsman first in the South Carolina Air National Guard then in the Air Force Reserves, attaining the rank of colonel.

Political Experience:

  • Served one term in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1993 to 1995.
  • In the 1994 race for the South Carolina 3rd Congressional House seat became the first Republican to represent the district since 1877.
  • Served in U.S. House of Representatives until 2003, during which time he served on the Committee on International Relations, Committee on Education and the Workforce, Committee on the Judiciary, and
    Committee on Armed Services.
  • In 2002 ran for Strom Thurmond’s seat and became the first new Senator from the state of South Carolina since 1965.

Positions on the issues



  • Biggest business headache is worker’s compensation system.
  • Voted YES on extending unemployment benefits from 39 weeks to 59 weeks.
  • Consistently supported farmers and agriculture.
  • Voted NO on restricting employer interference in union organizing.
  • Voted YES on increasing minimum wage to $7.25.
  • Fund welfare via religious & community-based NPOs.
  • Limit welfare to 2 years & cut welfare spending.
  • Make currency manipulation a key issue in trade negotiations.

Climate change:


Social issues:

  • Voted YES on reducing Marriage Tax by $399B over 10 years.
  • Rated 100% by the Christian Coalition: a pro-Family-Value voting record.
  • Pro-life.
  • Introduced bill to ban abortions at 20 weeks.
  • Opposes a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

Relevant scandals:

  • Faces criticism from some, including the Tea Party, of being a “moderate” republican that too often compromises with democrats.
  • Whisper campaign questioning his sexual orientation.
  • Had a recent public spat against Donald Trump where he destroyed his cell phone in a dramatic fashion.

Who will vote for him?

Graham is well liked in his home state, which is an early primary state. A win there could give his campaign much needed momentum going into the bulk of the nomination process. A loss will surely end his bid. Has supporters and detractors both for his perceived “moderation” and highly outspoken pro-military and pro-military interventionist attitudes.

Debate video:

On how to defeat ISIS