Politics & Government

Former SC gov candidate John Warren hints at possible Senate run against Graham

John Warren and Lindsey Graham
John Warren and Lindsey Graham

Fresh off a run for governor, Greenville businessman John Warren is already hinting at his possible next campaign, this time against U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Warren spoke to conservative talk show host Eric Bolling on Thursday, saying he is "definitely considering" challenging Graham for his Senate seat in 2020.

"I think we live in a great conservative state, and we deserve two conservative senators," Warren told Bolling when the former Fox News host visited Greenville for his online TV show. "We have one in Tim Scott."

Bolling repeatedly pushed Warren during the taping at the Greenville airport on whether he would commit to running against Graham in the 2020 Republican primary. Warren wouldn't say he was doing any more than considering a run, even as he bashed Graham and talked about his positive momentum after an unsuccessful run in the governor's race.

"I had a great campaign team last time, so we feel like I have the infrastructure in place. We'll see what happens," Warren said.

Pundits have speculated about Warren's desire to challenge Graham since even before he lost to Gov. Henry McMaster in June's GOP primary. But Warren has avoided talking about any future campaign plans until now.

Gov. Henry McMaster and candidate John Warren argued over who was most like Donald Trump during the runoff debates June 20.

Bolling also mentioned that Warren has "got money," after the candidate spent at least $3 million of his own cash to try to unseat McMaster. Final spending numbers from the runoff between McMaster and Warren on June 26 are not yet available.

Warren is a 39-year-old Marine and self-made millionaire who had not sought public office before he ran for governor this year — and he's played up the similarities between his business background and that of President Donald Trump.

"I talk about a lot of the same policies similar to what Donald Trump is doing," Warren told Bolling. "I don't talk about all the anti-Trump policies that Sen. Graham seems to talk about."

Graham was a critic and opponent of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. But since Trump's election, the two have developed a working relationship, even going on frequent golf outings together. The president acknowledged Graham during a campaign rally for McMaster on June 25, saying the senator has "become a good friend."

At a rally in Columbia, SC, Donald Trump talks about Sen. Lindsey Graham and their once rocky relationship.