Graham has never been married and has no children. He helped to raise his sister, Darline Graham Nordone, after the deaths of his mother and father, which occurred within fifteen months of each other, leaving the two without parents when Graham was 22 and she was 13.
Experiencing the early deaths of his parents, Graham says, made him mature more quickly, and Nordone, who introduced her brother at his formal announcement of his candidacy for the 2016 presidential race, said she hoped to be with him on the campaign trail frequently to show voters his softer side.
“He’s kind of like a brother, a father and a mother rolled into one,” she said. “I’ve always looked up to Lindsey.”
Graham lives in Seneca, South Carolina, is a Southern Baptist, and is a member of the Corinth Baptist Church.
Lindsey Olin Graham was born in Central, South Carolina, where his parents, Millie (Walters) and Florence James “F.J.” Graham, ran a restaurant-bar-pool hall-liquor store, the “Sanitary Cafe.”
His family was of Scots-Irish descent. After graduating from D. W. Daniel High School, Graham became the first member of his family to attend college, and joined the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.
When he was 21, his mother died of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, aged 52, and his father died 15 months later of a heart attack, aged 69.
Because his then-13-year-old sister was left orphaned, the service allowed Graham to attend the University of South Carolina in Columbia so he could be near home and care for his sister as her legal guardian.
During his studies, he became a member of the Pi Kappa Phi social fraternity.
He graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in psychology in 1977, and from the University of South Carolina School of Law with a J.D. in 1981.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Fox News Thursday that he was “getting killed financially” by his Democratic opponent Jamie Harrison.
“My opponent will raise $100 million in the state of South Carolina,” Graham said. “The most money ever spent in the history of the state on a Senate race in this state was by me in 2014 when I spent $13 million.”
“I’m being killed financially. This money is because they hate my guts.”
It wasn’t immediately clear what figure Graham was referring to, given that Harrison has raised just over $28 million as of the last Federal Election Commission filings in June, compared to Graham’s $29 million.
Graham held a cash advantage over Harrison at the end of June, with the Republican reporting $15 million in cash reserves compared to Harrison’s $10.2 million.
Graham noted that Harrison reportedly raised $6 million in the 72 hours after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday. Graham chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, putting him at the forefront of the GOP’s effort to replace Ginsburg.
Both Democrats and Republicans have sounded the alarm over Ginsburg’s death, putting the fate of the Supreme Court at the center of the November general election.
Earlier this week Graham made a similar pitch on Fox News, when he asked viewers to “help me fight back” by contributing to his campaign.
“They’re not going to intimidate me, [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell [R-Ky.] or anybody else,” Graham said Monday. “I’m getting outraised 3 to 1, outspent 4 to 1.”
The Cook Political Report rates the race between Harrison and Graham as “lean” Republican, though Harrison has made inroads in some polls showing an increasingly tight race in a state President Trump carried by more than 14 points in 2016.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on FOX just now: "My opponent will raise $100 million … I'm being killed financially. This money is 'cuz hate my guts." pic.twitter.com/hqMIqpdUoe
— The Recount (@therecount) September 24, 2020