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by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

June 15, 2014 - 8:20 am

How did House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) lose his seat to an unknown while Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) successfully warded off a pack of Tea Party challengers?

“I think I defined myself in a very good way,” Graham told CNN this morning.

“I had an air game and a ground game very coordinated. Politics is war in another form,” said the Air Force veteran and reservist. “We had a lot of money, but we had 5,200 precinct captains. So, we prepared the ground game. Nobody saw that coming. We really overwhelmed them on the ground. But I was a conservative leader who gets things done.”

He acknowledged that the immigration issue didn’t have the same effect on his campaign.

“Sixty-five percent of South Carolina Republicans support an earned pathway to citizenship. If you secure the border, have more legal immigration, and control who gets a job, 65 percent of South Carolinians say, learn the English language, pay a fine, get in back of the line, pass criminal background checks, wait 10 years. Then you can apply for a green card,” Graham said.

“If you have done all these things, if you’re a nonfelon, 65 percent of the Republicans in my state said that made sense.”

When asked what lesson the Cantor-Graham split held for Republicans, Graham replied, “I think the first thing you ought to do — this issue is big, right? Take a stand.”

“Thirty-five percent that disagree what I have said, I didn’t run a campaign trying to change their mind. I ran a campaign talking to the 65 percent, but, more than anything else, the biggest fault I — attributed to me by my opponents was that I would work with the other side to get things done,” he said. “I turned that into my biggest asset.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
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