Sen. Graham responds to Lexington Rebuke

Attendees to an S.C. Wildlife Federation conference listen to Sen. Lindsey Graham speak Tuesday.

COLUMBIA -- U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham told attendees at an S.C. Wildlife Federation meeting in Columbia Tuesday that he will not apologize for working with Democrats on climate change and immigration issues.

Graham's comments came one day after the Lexington County Republican Party voted 13-7 to censure him for "debasing" Republican beliefs and showing "contempt and belligerence" for fellow Republicans. The rebuke is the second in two months for Graham; the Charleston County GOP unanimously approved to censure him in November over similar disagreements.

Graham is the only Republican Senator to publicly support "Cap and Trade" legislation in the Senate that would restrict carbon emissions and impose additional taxes on business that environmentalists claim are necessary to combat climate change.

In his comments Tuesday, Graham took aim at both the fiscal conservative and Libertarian segments of the Republican Party by dismissing the "misplaced priorities" of the Lexington County GOP.

"The 13 people who support this resolution are Ron Paul supporters," said Graham. "They didn't vote for me before and they're not going to vote for me next time, and I understand that. I think it's misplaced priorities."

Graham also said he's proud of working with Democrats, and that he has an overall conservative voting record.

"I do believe in finding common ground to solve hard problems...but there are some elements of my party and others that want complete agreement all the time," said Graham.

Several former chairmen of the Lexington County GOP came to Graham's defense Tuesday, issuing a joint letter to current chairman Rich Bolen expressing disappointment with the censure resolution.

"We are very discouraged about what a handful of members of the committee were allowed to do in the name of the Lexington County Republican Party," said Scott Malyerck, Katrina Shealy, Butch Wallace, and Lyman Whitehead.