Graham, Scott and Haley show solidarity post primary wins - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Graham, Scott and Haley show solidarity post primary wins

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Two southern states, two longtime and highly influential incumbents. Both heavily criticized by super-conservatives including Tea Party groups.

One wins by a huge margin and the other goes down in a shocking defeat.

The polling for both Sen. Lindsey Graham and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor indicated huge leads over Tea Party-backed challengers.

Cantor's numbers could hardly have been more wrong.

WIS had an opportunity Thursday to get some post-election spins from Senators Graham and Tim Scott, along with someone who got a big boost from Tea Partiers a few years ago, Governor Nikki Haley.

"I've got two great rock stars here that are ready to fight," said Gov. Nikki Haley in a post-primary show of Republican Party solidarity Thursday.

Haley and the man she appointed to the U.S. Senate, Scott both have ties to the Tea Party.

"So I strongly believe in the Tea Party," Haley said.

And U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham who's been hammered by the movement for the last four years.

His message to Tea Partiers after a blowout win for his side.

"You're right to be frustrated," Graham said. "You've got every right to be frustrated. I ask only one thing of you. And that's what I ask of myself. Let's put the country ahead of the party. What good is the Tea Party, the Republican Party, and the Democratic Party if it cannot save America at a time she needs to be saved?"

Graham's story, in some ways the flip side of the night's and possibly the year's most stunning political story.

The defeat of U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by college professor and Tea Party member David Brat.

Graham said his situation was different.

"When the Tea Party looked at me they didn't see an enemy," Graham said. "They saw a guy who understood the threats we face as a nation and they like the fact that I am a strong national security republican and the Tea Party understands that President Obama is putting our country at risk."

The take from Haley and Scott.

 "Anybody trying to diminish the strength of the Tea Party is wrong," Haley said. "Tea Party is not about elections. Tea Party is about things that we fight for. We are fighting against President Obama on mandates. We're fighting against President Obama on tax increases. We're fighting against President Obama on healthcare."

Scott said the party still has room to grow.

"One of the ways we grow who we are and who identifies themselves with the conservative movement is not to figure out what faction you are within the republican construct, but think about the ideas that are being presented within the republican conversation," Scott said.

Graham wasted no time calling for immigration reform, an issue that may have played a major role in Cantor's loss.

Despite what some political experts are saying today, Graham said that effort is not dead.

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