South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham — dogged by poor polling numbers — insists he’s not quitting the GOP presidential contest.
The U.S. senator from Seneca has filed to run in three states’ March 1 GOP presidential primaries, laying the groundwork to continue his long-shot bid past South Carolina’s Feb. 20 primary.
Graham filed Tuesday a petition, pre-certified by the Virginia GOP, with 7,500 signatures to appear on that state’s March 1 primary ballot, his campaign said. To appear on the ballot, Graham needed 5,000 signatures. Graham also filed Tuesday to appear on Tennessee’s March 1 primary ballot. Last week, he secured a spot on the Vermont ballot, the campaign said.
In a statement, Graham said getting on the ballot in Virginia, Vermont and Tennessee “marks an important milestone for our strong political organization throughout the country.”
To date, Graham has met the deadline to get on every primary ballot, campaign adviser Scott Farmer said. Graham also has filed to run in New Hampshire on Feb. 9; Alabama and Arkansas, both on March 1; Louisiana on March 5; Michigan on March 8; Florida on March 15 — and South Carolina.
Graham has said he will re-evaluate his candidacy after New Hampshire’s primary, which comes before South Carolina’s nominating contest.
Graham is polling at less than 1 percent nationally and averages 2 percent in S.C. polls, according to Real Clear Politics. Graham’s support in his home state peaked at 17 percent in a February poll, taken before he announced his candidacy.