In South Carolina, both Republican Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Lindsey Graham are potentially vulnerable to primary challenges in their 2014 reelection races. At the press conference where Haley announced GOP Rep. Tim Scott as her choice for Senate, the two lavished praise not just on Scott and Sen. Jim DeMint, but also on the rest of the state's congressional delegation -- some of whom could hold ambitions for higher office.
Haley said that as she travels across the nation, "everybody always wants to know how in the world we got the best federal delegation in the country. And all I tell them is South Carolina is blessed. We have a great group of legislators that fight every day, that get what we want, and they fight for it. They don't just go along with the pack, they fight for it."
Graham praised each member individually. "We have a really deep bench in South Carolina," he said, noting that it must have been difficult for Haley to choose DeMint's successor.
"Trey comes from the most conservative part of the state, he can throw a punch, but he does it in a way that his colleagues on both sides of the aisle respect," he said of Rep. Trey Gowdy, reportedly on Haley's shortlist for DeMint's seat. "There is no stronger voice in the House of Representatives on legal issues."
"Jeff couldn't be here, but he has passed legislation that would make this nation energy independent," he concluded, referring to Rep. Jeff Duncan.
And he had especially strong praise for two members who have recently ruled out runs against him: Reps. Joe Wilson and Mick Mulvaney.
"Joe is the dean of the House delegation, and I've never met anyone who enjoys his job more," he said, adding that men and women in uniform have no better friend.
"Mick, you're going to be the next Paul Ryan," he said. "Just keep being who you are. The guy is wicked smart. He's a problem-solver."
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