Graham avoids another censure

"I just think it sends the wrong message to censure him when we're trying to work with him on a grant to get 600 jobs. To act tonight is premature without giving him a chance to speak." – State Sen. Paul Campbell, R-Goose Creek, speaking of U.S. Sen. Li

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GOOSE CREEK -- U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham escaped another censure Monday after his chief of staff promised a meeting with disgruntled Berkeley County Republicans.

The Charleston County Republican Party's executive committee passed a resolution last week censuring Graham for departing from their values.

They were unhappy that Graham is siding with Democrats who believe in global warming for an energy bill, that he supported the federal bank bailout and that he favors granting amnesty for illegal aliens and that he called those who disagree with him on the issue bigots.

Berkeley County Republicans showed up at their executive committee meeting Monday night with a similar resolution, changing only the name of the county from Charleston to Berkeley.

Linda Riney of Cross urged the approximately 30 committee members who were present to pass it.

"How can we defend being conservatives if we just sit by with our mouth shut?" she said.

Chairman Tim Callanan of Daniel Island urged the group to table the motion. Callanan said Graham's chief of staff called him Monday afternoon and offered to set up a meeting next week.

"It seems to be a reasonable request," Callanan said, adding that he thinks Graham has some serious explaining to do.

Joe Kaplinger of Jamestown, who made the motion, said Graham was too late.

"He's had plenty of time to answer our questions," Kaplinger said.

Drew Collins of Goose Creek also urged the committee to censure Graham. He said every time he called Graham's office he always got a voice mail instead of a live person and that it was time to send Graham a message.

State Sen. Paul Campbell, R-Goose Creek, said he disagrees with Graham on the energy bill but urged the committee to give him a chance to speak for himself.

"I just think it sends the wrong message to censure him when we're trying to work with him on a grant to get 600 jobs," Campbell said. "To act tonight is premature without giving him a chance to speak."

Berkeley County School Board member Terry Hardesty also urged waiting.

"I'm not opposed to censuring Lindsey Graham," Hardesty said. "I just don't think it's the right time."

The committee tabled the resolution until the January meeting by a 3-1 margin in a voice vote.

But the consensus was that the censure would resurface if they're not happy after talking with Graham.

There was talk before the meeting that Dorchester County Republicans also were considering censuring Graham.

Party Chairman Carroll Duncan said it's not likely to come up at their next meeting in January.

"I can categorically tell you, no we are not planning that," she said Monday afternoon. "We do not feel it is a good thing to do. Right now there is little or no interest in bring-ing it up in Dorchester County."