With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Graham had 56.3 percent of the vote, according to the Associated Press tally. He needed at least 50 percent to avoid a runoff. Graham’s closest challenger, Lee Bright, had 15.5 percent.
Graham’s opponents attacked him for supporting a bill the Senate passed last June to revise U.S. immigration laws. That measure, which stalled in the House, called for $46.3 billion in border-security measures while creating a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
“Immigration is a problem that’s not gonna get fixed by yelling about it,” Graham said at a June 7 candidate debate in which he weathered attacks on the issue.
Graham, 58, is favored to win November’s general election in a state that leans Republican. He has been a leading critic of the Obama administration’s handling of the deadly 2012 attacks on a U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
He will face Democrat Brad Hutto, 56, a state senator who won his party’s two-candidate primary with 77 percent of the vote in the AP tally.