Lindsey Graham drops presidential bid

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, among the Republican presidential candidates close to the pro-Israel community, withdrew from the race for the nomination.

Graham was never able to breach more than the low single digits in his bid for the nomination. The field has had as many as 18 candidates.

“I’m going to suspend my campaign,” the South Carolina senator told CNN on Monday. “I’ve hit a wall here.”

Graham predicted that whoever emerges as the Republican nominee would adopt the policy he embraces in confronting the Islamic State terrorist group – a U.S.-led coalition that would necessitate the participation of American ground troops. He offered his services to the winning presidential candidate, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee.

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“We’ve fallen short here, but the fight continues,” Graham said. “To those who are doing the fighting, I want to be your voice. To those in the Republican Party who want to win, check my plan out.

“Hillary, if you get to be president, I’ll help you where I can. I hope you’re not. But if you are, I’ll be there to help you win a war we can’t afford to lose.”

Graham has long been a pro-Israel leader in the Senate and has forged close ties with an array of pro-Israel groups. He is attractive to Republican Jews not just for his pro-Israel credentials, but for his relative moderation on a range of other issues. He has been the most outspoken GOP candidate criticizing front-runner Donald Trump for calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.

Graham once joked that if elected president, he could well form the first all-Jewish Cabinet.

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