Lindsey Graham Fast Facts

CNN  — 

Here’s a look at the life of Lindsey Graham, US senator from South Carolina and 2016 GOP presidential candidate.


Birth date: July 9, 1955

Birth place: Central, South Carolina

Birth name: Lindsey Olin Graham

Father: Florence James Graham, restaurant, pool hall and liquor store owner

Mother: Millie Graham, restaurant, pool hall and liquor store owner

Education: University of South Carolina, Columbia, B.A., 1977; University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1981

Military service: US Air Force, 1982-1988; South Carolina Air National Guard, 1989-1995; US Air Force Reserve, 1995-2015; retired from the Air Force Reserve in 2015 as a colonel.

Religion: Southern Baptist

Other Facts

Growing up, Graham worked in the pool hall his family owned, the Sanitary Cafe.

His mother and father died within 15 months of each other when Graham was an undergraduate. He helped raise his then 13-year-old sister, Darline, and later adopted her.

In 1994, he became the first Republican elected to the US House of Representatives from South Carolina since 1877.

Told reporters in March 2015 that he has never sent an email.

Was a close friend of the late Sen. John McCain from Arizona.


1982-1988 - US Air Force prosecutor and defense attorney. The last four years were served at Rhein-Main Air Force Base in Germany.

1988-1992 - Assistant attorney, County of Oconee, South Carolina.

1990-1994 - City attorney for Central, South Carolina, his hometown.

1992-1994 - Member of the South Carolina state House of Representatives.

1995-2003 - Republican member of the US House of Representatives.

2002 - Is elected to the US Senate, succeeding Strom Thurmond.

2003-present - US senator from South Carolina.

2013 - Collaborates on a bipartisan immigration reform bill. The measure passes in the Senate but doesn’t make it through the House.

June 1, 2015 - Announces he is running for president during an event in Central, South Carolina.

June 7, 2015 - Graham says in an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash that he would welcome Caitlyn Jenner as a political ally and makes a pitch for a more inclusive GOP.

December 21, 2015 - Announces he is suspending his presidential campaign.

May 6, 2016 - Announces he will not be voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton for president in the general election.

October 2018 - Tells CNN that although Trump “can be a handful,” Graham wants to see Trump succeed and enjoys the ability to influence Trump by staying in the president’s corner.

January 10, 2019-February 3, 2021 - Graham serves as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

June 12, 2020 - The group Republican Voters Against Trump releases a campaign ad featuring Graham criticizing Trump and praising Vice President Joe Biden. In the ad, Graham calls President Trump a “race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot.”

November 3, 2020 - Wins reelection to the US Senate, defeating Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison who gained attention for raising huge amounts of money.

January 6, 2021 - Graham defends the certification of the electoral votes on the Senate floor following the US Capitol riots, saying objecting to the results are a “uniquely bad idea to delay this election. All I can say, is count me out, enough is enough.” Weeks later, Graham returns to supporting Trump by serving as an informal adviser to his team during his second impeachment trial and visiting Mar-a-Lago.

August 2, 2021 - Graham announces he has tested positive for Covid-19, despite being vaccinated. He tweets “without vaccination I am certain I would not feel as well as I do now.”

November 22, 2022 - Graham appears before a Fulton County, Georgia, grand jury investigating efforts by Trump and his allies to subvert the results of the 2020 election, prosecutors want to question Graham about calls he made to Georgia election officials after the presidential election, as well as his interactions with the Trump campaign, according to court documents.