Lindsey Graham easily won the South Carolina primary on Tuesday, in stark contrast to another amnesty supporter in Eric Cantor. Cantor's defeat at the hands of an under-the-radar TEA Party candidate, David Brat, signaled that the rumors of the TEA Party's death have been greatly exaggerated.
While Cantor chose to basically ignore the threat in the congressional district around Richmond VA, Lindsey Graham and his team have been laying the foundation of his campaign for nearly a year.
Many feel like the campaigns of Det Bowers, Nancy Mace and Benjamin Dunn were actually spearheaded by none other than the Graham team, in order to cut support to Bill Connor. Det Bowers was actually Bill Connor's pastor until Bowers abruptly left the church in a bad way some time ago. Nancy Mace was the first female graduate of the Citadel (Connor's alma mater) where her father yields considerable influence. And Benjamin Dunn is an Afghan war veteran, albeit not to the extent that Connor is but nonetheless, someone that could take a few votes. Bowers mined a lot of Bill Connor's support from his church, Mace and her father controlled the Citadel connections and Dunn taking some of the veteran vote.
All combined, those three candidates all siphoned off support that Bill Connor had in 2010 during the Lt Gov race, where he had over 130,000 votes in a 4 way primary.
That was the biggest concern from the beginning of this campaign. Many conservatives around the state had long been pushing Connor to run against Graham and Lindsey's team knew they had to have an airtight plan to cut Connor's support. This plan by the Graham team not only cost Connor a lot of votes at the polls but the money that would've otherwise been available to him through donations during the campaign.
Ultimately, there were only two candidates with any sort of chance to beat Graham (Connor and Bright) but Lindsey Graham and his team knew that Lee Bright would not and could not get enough support to put him in a runoff. Bright, as the "Ron Paul" candidate just wasn't going to be able to garner much more support than Paul himself did in South Carolina's primary in 2012. Paul got 13% of the vote in that primary while Bright was able to get 15.6% yesterday, that was about the maximum percent Bright could've received. Many folks, including those voting for the other conservative candidates, were simply too turned off by the Liberty Caucus crowd (Ron Paulers) to support Bright in big numbers. This site will have more on that later.
At the end of the day, Lindsey Graham's campaign ran a perfect race, eroding the support for the candidate they deemed most likely to challenge Graham in a runoff.
Eric Cantor's team, on the other hand, chose to ignore their big threat and rely on Cantor's ability to mislead voters on his record.
As we all know this morning, Lindsey Graham won big and Eric Cantor lost big.
Look for the establishment wing of the GOP to learn a huge lesson from this.