Around the South for Jan. 21: SC, AR & VA

South Carolina: Graham considering White House bid. US Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that he has formed a “testing-the-waters committee” and is “definitely” going to consider a presidential bid in 2016. “It’s wide open,” Graham added, “Anybody could be a contender.” ……. Arkansas: Cotton rejects 2016 race. After the New Republic called freshman US Sen. Tom Cotton (AR) a dark horse presidential contender, due to being “a decorated veteran, Harvard Law grad and unapologetic neoconservative hawk,” Cotton responded, “If I’m a dark horse, it must be very dark. Maybe more like a mule than a horse.” He added, reports Little Rocks KATV, “I’m a United States Senator. I just got sworn in. I’m very proud to be representing Arkansas and I’m looking forward to being a dad.” ……. Virginia: Kaine reports on Middle East trip. US Sen. Tim Kaine (D), a member of both the Senate’s Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, returned this weekend from a trip to Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, accompanied by other senators from both parties. In a statement, Kaine said, “We must continue to support efforts to battle extremism in the region … We must continue to insist that Israel and Palestine do the hard work to find a path to peaceful coexistence.” (If Hillary bows out, watch Kaine.) …….