December 21st was the last day for filing to be on the 2016 South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary ballot. It is no coincidence that it was the same day the Senator Lindsey Graham dropped his quixotic campaign to be the GOP POTUS nominee.
Aside from absorbing accolades from the press corps in several of the under-card Republican debates, Lindsey Graham has been a non-entity in the Republican Presidential Campaign. The only place in which he excelled was consistently coming in last place all year in The Blaze's monthly Presidential Preferences among Glenn Beck listeners.
It is questionable if Senator Graham ever had a realistic pathway to primary victory in the GOP. His best hope would have been to win as a favorite son in South Carolina and parlay primacy in the Palmetto State into Big Momentum going in the nine SEC primaries the week afterwards. At that point Graham might have held some sway with delegates if there was an open Republican convention in Cleveland. Still those were pretty impossible dreams.
Alas, Graham only garnered 0.5% in most national polls and perhaps 4% in his home state of South Carolina. Graham presumably did not want to be thought of like Gov. John Connolly (D/R-TX) who famously spent $10 million to win 1 delegate in South Carolina during the 1980 cycle.
Even though Graham won re-election to his third term in South Carolina in 2014, a colossal failure on the Presidential Primary stage might be a memory which loomed large in a state where he was considered a weak incumbent and only took 55% in the 2014 General Election.
Aside from ego, Graham seemed initially driven to strengthen the American military, especially during a time of war. Some might suspect this issue oriented campaign was meant as a counterbalance to a more neo-isoloationism espoused by his libertarian Republican rival Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). However, Graham shifted to taunted Donald Trump from the small debate stage. He may calculate that his absence in the Republican field will allow his Senate sidekick, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to make a more consequential endorsement for the New Hampshire primary, which McCain won in 2000 and 2008 so his word may carry some weight.
Besides, Graham's reputation for warning "We're at war" along with his 30 plus years service in the National Guard may make him a candidate to be Secretary of State in a prospective Jeb! or maybe Marco Rubio administration, particularly if the Graham endorsement is timely and effective.