The rating on Sen. Lindsey Graham’s Senate seat has moved toward his Democratic opponent Jaime Harrison by the Cook Political Report.
Several sources in the state point to one crucial decision by the Harrison campaign that has made him more competitive than Democrats in South Carolina usually are — going up early on TV with positive, biographical ads that were left unanswered by Graham for almost two months, with Harrison beginning ads in early April while Graham went on air in late May. Now, Graham’s latest TV ads tie Harrison to national Democrat and highlight praise he’s had for Hillary Clinton and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Harrison’s latest ad contrasts Graham’s travel expenses with the senator saying he would reauthorize COVID unemployment benefits “over our dead bodies,” a remark Democrats highlight as particularly tone-deaf as coronavirus deaths near 170,000 nationwide, including 2,260 in South Carolina as of Sunday.
While there are still large hurdles that remain for Harrison to become the first Democrat elected to the Senate from South Carolina since 1998, it’s clear this race is becoming more competitive, and Graham faces an incredibly strong challenge. In the races in our Likely Republican column, this is also the one some national Republicans view as the more competitive. We are moving South Carolina from Likely to Lean Republican.
Harrison has run an outstanding campaign so far. There are quite a few Democrats who are running good campaigns, but Harrison tends to slide under national radar because of the perceived bias that South Carolina is not in play.
Lindsey Graham might have made the worst mistake of his career by joining himself at the hip with Donald Trump. The President’s support is eroding, even in red states like South Carolina. Graham’s Trump lifeboat may turn into the anchor around his neck that sinks the incumbent senator.
Harrison is proving that Democrats can run effectively in the South. As the Republican Party has become a Trump personality cult, Democrats are running on local and kitchen table issues, and a successful Harrison campaign could put Lindsey Graham out of a job in November.
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Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association