A relatively unknown political newcomer, Jaime Harrison, is going head to head against a top senator, Lindsey Graham, who is fighting to retain his US Senate seat in South Carolina.
A new Quinnipiac Poll finds the Republican senator in a deadlock with Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison. The recently released poll shows that the pair are in a 48-48 tie. Previously released polls show the well-funded Harrison solidly maintaining his edge for more than 10 weeks as Graham dances with President Donald Trump and has become warped in compromise in the midst of this global pandemic and a heightened climate of unrest and the billowing of systemic racism.
Because of Graham’s high profile in the US Senate and a slew of political contradiction in his over-reaching support of President Donald Trump, the South Carolina Senate race is one to watch as Graham publicly begs for cash live on Fox News.
Harrison, who is from the small city of Orangeburg, is already a rising star in the Democratic party. A lawyer with degrees from Yale and Georgetown Universities, he served as chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party and is an associate chair for the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Describing Senator Lindsey Graham as a “political windsock” who has forgotten about the people of South Carolina and their everyday challenges with healthcare, education, broadband and crumbling roads, the 44-year-old Democrat stands a good chance of unseating the Republican incumbent who has been in office since 2003.
Harrison announced his candidacy in a videotape with his childhood home as the backdrop. He talked about being born to a 16-year-old teenage mother and being raised by his grandparents who were laborers in construction and the textile industry in Orangeburg. As a child, he recalls assisting his grandparents with reading their bills.
In this wave of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Republican’s reluctance to stand against White supremacy, Harrison is well poised to win the upcoming Senate race which has been under Republican control for more than 20 years.
“There hasn’t been a Democrat elected to the US Senate by South Carolinians since 1998, and [Senator Graham] is being outspent and labeled by critics as an apologist for President Trump. He is facing the political fight of his life,” noted Tim Malloy, poll analyst at Quinnipiac University.
“This momentum is clearly aligned with this grassroots movement and South Carolinians are embracing change and a new way forward,” said Cliff King, Harrison’s campaign spokesperson.
The same poll of North Carolinians shows voters desire to retain GOP control of the Senate, but on the matter of the candidates, voters show a decline in the favorability of Graham and an increase in a favorable view of Harrison. Forty-eight percent of voters view Harrison favorably, with a 35% unfavorable view, while Graham shows a 43% favorable to a 51% unfavorable view.
Harrison, who was the first Black to chair that state’s Democratic Party, has consistently upstaged the long-serving incumbent while Graham complains that he is “getting killed financially.” In August alone, Jaime Harrison’s campaign raised more than $10 million, and in some instances raised a million dollars in a day.
While Harrison’s campaign gains significant momentum across South Carolina with strong polling among suburban voters, Democrats are banking on a win and Republicans are concerned about the impact of a Graham defeat in this historically “White supremacist” state. Should Harrison win, this would become the first US state to send 2 Black senators to Capitol Hill – Harrison joining Republican Senator Tim Scott.