Lindsey Olin Graham (born July 9, 1955) is the senior U.S. Senator from South Carolina and a member of the Republican Party. Previously he served as the U.S. Representative for South Carolina's 3rd congressional district.
Graham was born in Central, South Carolina, where his parents, Millie and Florence James Graham, ran a liquor store, the Sanitary Cafe. After graduating from D. W.
Daniel High School, Graham became the first member of his family to attend college and joined the Reserve Officers' Training Corps. When he was 21 his mother died, and his father died 15 months later. Because his sister was left orphaned, the service allowed Graham to attend University of South Carolina in Columbia so he could be near home and care for his sister, whom he adopted. During his studies, he became a member of the fraternity Pi Kappa Phi. Graham graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Psychology in 1977 and from the University of South Carolina School of Law with a J.D. in 1981. Upon graduating, Graham was sent to Europe as a military prosecutor, and eventually entered private practice as a lawyer.
South Carolina House of Representatives
In 1992, Graham was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives from a district in Oconee County, and served one term.
U.S. House of Representatives
In Congress, Graham became a member of the Judiciary Committee during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998. Graham opposed some articles, but vigorously supported others.
In January and February 1999, after two impeachment articles had been passed by the full House, he was one of the managers who brought the House's case to Clinton's trial in the Senate which did not convict Clinton.
In 2002, upon Thurmond's retirement, Graham defeated his Democratic opponent, Alex Sanders, the president of the Charleston School of Law. Graham became South Carolina's first new Senator since 1965, and the state's first freshman Republican Senator since Reconstruction when sanctions were imposed on South Carolina by Radical Republicans. Graham served as Junior Senator for only two years, serving with U.S. Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings. Graham became Senior Senator in 2005 when Jim DeMint won election to Hollings's seat. In 2008, Graham was easily reelected against North Myrtle Beach native Bob Conley.
Though Graham's stances are often politically conservative, he has gained a reputation for sometimes speaking out against or criticizing the party line, as well as being open to making economical decisions, such as was demonstrated with his support for bank bailouts. Graham notably supported John McCain's presidential bid in 2000, and served as national co-chairman of McCain's 2008 presidential bid. Graham has supported an interventionist foreign policy. On November 6, 2010 at the Halifax International Security Forum, he called for a pre-emptive military strike to "neuter" the Iranian regime.
He has also argued that "the U.S. needs to keep at least 10,000 troops in Iraq into 2012," saying that "If we're not smart enough to work with the Iraqis to have 10,000 to 15,000 American troops in Iraq in 2012, Iraq could go to hell."