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Charleston GOP Censures Sen. Graham

The Charleston County, S.C., Republican Party has formally censured Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) over his efforts to work with Democrats and other GOP moderates on a host of hot-button issues, the Charleston Post and Courier reported Wednesday.

Graham, a conservative with an independent streak, has come under fire from some Republicans for his backing of the Troubled Assets Relief Program last year and his work with Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) on climate change legislation this year. Graham, who secured a second term in 2008, has also been at the center of bipartisan negotiations on controversial issues such as immigration reform.

Graham has also angered conservative activists for his criticism of “tea party— protesters and others who have sought to impose a strict ideological litmus test on Republican lawmakers.

Charleston County GOP Chairwoman Lin Bennett told the Post and Courier that the unanimous censure vote was “an effort to get his attention. They’re just fed up, and they want him to know they’re fed up.—

The county GOP is closely connected to the tea party movement: According to its Web Site, the party apparatus worked with a local group of protesters to identify and support conservatives running in local, nonpartisan elections.

“A local group of conservatives from the Tea Party Organization, 9.12 and members of the Charleston GOP met and interviewed candidates for local races. They have made the following recommendations for local offices which we support. These candidates have been identified as conservative candidates for these local non-partisan elections. We are asking your support of these individuals through volunteer efforts or cash donations. Please pick one and help them get elected,— the Web Site says.

According to the paper, in addition to censuring Graham “for many of the positions he has taken that do not represent the wishes of the people of South Carolina,— it also calls on the state party to withdraw a resolution commending Graham.

Graham’s office and the county party did not immediately return requests for comment.

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