South Carolina Senator Looking At 2016 Race To Do Battle With 'Radical Islam'

AP344267125142AP/Susan Walsh, FileSen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina).

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) says he’s throwing his hat into the increasingly crowded field of 2016 contenders.

Graham launched a fundraising committee, “Peace Through Strength,” on Thursday to raise money for the potential campaign. In a Fox News interview, he said his goal is to promote a more aggressive foreign policy.

“I’m going to take a look at the presidential primary. …. This organisation will allow people to donate money and their time and resources to see if there’s a pathway forward for me,” he said. “So I’m going to look at it.”

Graham, one of the Senate’s leading foreign policy hawks, said his political committee was named after one of former President Ronald Reagan’s catchphrases. He went on to argue against “peaceful coexistence” with jihadists abroad.

“You know Ronald Reagan famously said his goal was to have ‘peace through strength.’ In my view you can never have peace with radical Islam. They want to destroy us and our way of life. So peaceful coexistence is a nonstarter from their point of view and, quite frankly, from my point of view. But you can have security. You can have a strong military keeping the fight over there so it doesn’t come here,” he said.

Graham is a relative moderate on a number of hot-button issues, including immigration, leading many reporters and political operatives to suggest he wouldn’t be a viable candidate in a GOP primary and doubt the seriousness of his campaign. But pressed on his intentions Thursday, Graham reportedly touted his re-election victory margin in South Carolina, one of the first states to vote in the presidential contest.

“How could a guy win in South Carolina by 41 points who voted for [Sonia] Sotomayor, [Elena] Kagan, embraces climate change, Israel, and [thinks] immigration reform is necessary?” Graham asked, according to Talking Points Memo. “My party is center-right, and I’m in the right ditch.”

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