Around the South for Feb. 2: SC, FL & IA

South Carolina: Graham explores; O’Malley speaks. US Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) last week announced the formation of the Strength Through Security committee, enabling the close ally of John McCain to raise funds for a potential presidential run. On the Democratic side, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who may or may not run for president, probably depending on what Hillary Clinton does, will address Palmetto State Democrats at an issues conference in Myrtle Beach on Feb. 28 ……. Florida: Rubio raises money. US Sen. Marco Rubio is moving closer to a run for the White House, despite the competitive ambitions of fellow Floridian Jeb Bush. Last week, Rubio missed the Keystone Pipeline vote to raise California money in Newport Beach, Palm Springs and Beverly Hills. Meanwhile, Sunshine State Democrats chastised him for missing votes in the Senate, including final passage of the Keystone Pipeline bill ……. Iowa: A year from now, on February 1, 2016, Republican caucus-goers in Iowa will decide the opening battle in the GOP’s presidential contest. A Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll taken in late January showed Scott Walker in first place with 16%, Rand Paul 15%, Mike Huckabee 13%, Ben Carson 10% and Jeb Bush 9%. The rest were in smaller single digits. The survey was taken before Mitt Romney withdrew, but his supporters’ second-place preferences were allocated to other candidates …….