South Carolina’s senior Republican, Sen. Lindsey Graham, has endorsed Democrat Howard Berman in Berman’s California House race.
Berman is locked in a tight contest to represent the Golden State’s 30th District with fellow House member and Democrat Brad Sherman.
As a result of re-districting, the two Democrats were forced into a run-off by a California election law that requires the two top finishers in a primary to advance to the general election, irrespective of party.*
The race in suburban Los Angeles is expected to be close and the endorsement from Graham could make the difference for Berman, who also received endorsements on Monday from Sens. John McCain (R – Arizona) and Joseph Lieberman (I – Connecticut).
Berman is the senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
In a statement, Graham said, "(Berman) works hard every day to advance America's agenda and has been instrumental in passing laws to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, stop arms sales to nations that support terrorism, and keep our country safe. We need his effectiveness and bipartisan leadership in Congress."
Graham is up for re-election in South Carolina in 2014 and is expected to face a challenge from his right, with the most oft-mentioned candidate being State Sen. Tom Davis (R - Beaufort).
McCain won re-election in 2010 and Lieberman has announced he’ll be retiring from the Senate when his term ends in Jan. 2013.
Graham did not make an official endorsement during the Republican Presidential Primaries, but has been harshly critical of Pres. Obama on everything from tax policy to his handling of the crisis in Syria.
* Note - This sentence originally said California law "allows" the to top two finishers to square off in a primary even if they are from the same party, when in fact it's more stringent than that--it's required. Thanks to a savvy reader for pointing that out.