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.”
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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.